Eventually the lack of offence was going to catch up to the Winnipeg Jets.
One regulation goal in Philadelphia led to a 2-1 shootout win and one regulation goal in Tampa led to a 2-1 overtime win. Against the Panthers, a second goal in regulation was needed to force extra time, but that did not happen as the Panthers won 2-1, extending their Southeast Division lead to five points over the Jets, with Washington in between the two.
Kris Versteeg scored his 20th goal of the year to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first period. It was his sixth goal in four games against the Jets this season and it was a power play marker.
For so long this season, the Jets' best offensive period was the first. Now they have scored only one first period goal in the last eight games. And they have scored only six times in the last five games. That puts a lot of pressure on your goaltenders and your defensive play.
Bryan Little snapped a 14-game goalless drought (although he did score the game winner in the Philadelphia shootout) to tie the game at 1-1 in the second. But less than three minutes later, Sean Bergenheim regained the lead for the Panthers, and the game would end 2-1. The Jets are now 0-9 in the second game of back-to-back situations.
From a divisional standpoint, it was a tough loss. From a conference standpoint, the Jets can still go home with a 3-1 record for the road trip with a win in Montreal on Sunday afternoon. (TSN 1290)
"We're disappointed with our start in such a big game," said Jim Slater on the TSN Jets post-game interview. "We turned too many pucks over and didn't shoot enough when we had chances."
Head coach Claude Noel was also disappointed the start. "We can't give the opposition 20 minutes of free play." On the lack of offence, "do I like scoring only one goal? No. Would I like more offence? Yes. Do I coach to score only one goal? No. It makes for a small margin of error.
"In 30 of 53 games, we have scored two or under. How many times did we pass off when we had legitimate chances to shoot? But when you don't have confidence, that's what you do; you pass it off."
On the positive from the coach, "We'll have a light skate Saturday, get some rest and we'll be ready for Montreal. We played hard in the second and third. Chris Mason battled, made a lot of good saves."
Tim Stapleton continues to skate in Winnipeg and should be ready for the home game against Toronto on Tuesday, while Evander Kane continues to skate but whether he could be ready for Tuesday is not certain.