After a great December the Jets were very much looking forward to taking to the road and improving their record away from the MTS Centre.
A four game road trip started with a 7-3 loss in Montreal Wednesday, on a night that saw Lars Eller scored four and pick up an assist for a five point night with one of the goals came on a penalty shot.
Tim Stapleton gave the Jets a 1-0 lead with his 6th of the year, on a goal created by great hustle from Evander Kane. But goals 43 seconds apart from Josh Gorges and Eller had Montreal up 2-1 after one.
The Jets were guilty of sloppy play, something we have not seen much of over the past 20 games. Then, Tomas Kaberle scored his first of the season to make it 3-1 before Blake Wheeler's first road goal of the season (seventh overall) on a power play cut the lead to 3-2 and the Jets went back on the power play late in the second, a power play that carried into the third.
That turned out to be a turning point, because after killing off the penalty, the Canadiens took advantage of some sloppy defensive play to score three goals in 50 seconds and put the game away.
Andrew Ladd would score his 13th of the year late but the damage had been done, 7-3 the final.
A game like Wednesday's results in so many questions. Some that will be answered in less than 24 hours as the Jets get right back at it, in Toronto.
It will be the Jets sixth back to back of the season, and they are 0-5 in the second game so far
"The determination and passion we have been playing with was not there tonight," commented head coach Claude Noel. "We didn't check well enough as a group. So is it [that] we don't know how [or] don't have the will to check? We know how we can play. We'll be better against Toronto. We've been playing for each other and we didn't do that tonight."
Wheeler extended his point streak to six games (4-5-9) and has points in 17 of his last 21 games. Bryan Little and Derek Meech are on the trip, with Little closer to returning than Meech. Randy Jones returned to the lineup after missing the last nine due to injury.
The worry for the coaches is this team had a tough January last year after a good first half.
Noel offered up one more question that needs an answer.
"Is this a young team that is satisfied how we have played lately?"
The game against the Leafs may answer a lot of questions.