As much as Jets Coach Claude Noel didn't want to get into a game of trading chances against the Edmonton Oilers, that is the kind of game it turned into. But not because it was a wide open end to end affair, it was because both teams were guilty of turning pucks over, mishandling passes and making bad decisions.
Coach Noel summed it up this way, "we were sloppy with the puck." But the Oilers used an offensive outburst in the third to win 5-3.
At times games on trade deadline day can be tough to play. The focus after the morning skate from the media is all about trades, players don't rest as much in the afternoon as they normally would, perhaps trying to keep up with which players are on the move, are they on the move, plus dealing with people leaving their dressing room.
However this was a game the Jets needed to win as this eight-game home stand continues. The game was scoreless until Kyle Wellwood on a power play put the Jets in front at the 15:45 mark of the second. But Ryan Whitney answered that with a power play goal 1:14 later, only to have Alexander Burmistrov send the Jets to the dressing room up 2-1 after two periods.
Nik Antropov made a great pass on the Wellwood goal snapping a 13 game pointless drought, while Dustin Byfuglien's assist on Burmistrov's goal extended his point streak to seven, establishing a new career high.
Simply put this was a strange game, and it continued that way into the third. It started with Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd on a two on one. A chance to give the Jets a two goal lead, but Jeff Petry made a solid defensive play not allowing Wheeler a shot or a passing lane as he sprawled to block the play. On his way up Wheeler's stick caught him up high and a Jets scoring chance turned into an Edmonton power play. Then the flood gates opened.
Ryan Jones on the power play 2-2, then Randy Jones lost his balance and fell trying to keep a puck in the Oilers zone and Lennart Petrell converted a two on one into the go ahead goal. That one 35 seconds after the Oilers tying goal. Petrell and Taylor Hall hooked up to make it 4-2, Jordan Eberle with a great move to the back hand converted on an breakaway and the the Oilers had a 5-2 lead. With six attackers Antropov scored his ninth of the year at 18:50 assited by Evander Kane and Byfuglien, and in the next 20 seconds the Jets had three great scoring chances that would have made it a one goal game.
Byfuglien ended the night with two assits giving him five straight two point games. Eight of his last 10 games have been multiple point games. Kane extended his point streak to seven, while Wheeler saw his end at six, Ladd and Bryan Little had theirs end at five and four respectively.
Jets were minus Zach Bogosian but it appears he will be ready for Thursdays game against Florida, as the home stand continues (TSN Jets, TSN 1290).
Earlier in the day the Jets traded Johnny Oduya to Chicago for a second and a third round draft pick in 2013, while picking up 26-year-old Grant Clitsome of waivers from Columbus.
Players interviewed on TSN Jets post game felt they came out flat to start the third and it cost them.
"It was a tough game," is how Coach Noel started his post game news conference. "Hard to identify who our best players were. Right from the start I didn't like the way we were thinking. We didn't play great from the goalie on out. Not sure why, did the St. Louis game take it's toll. We looked tired, worn down. Didn't have any pop. Everybody looked the same, why is that? We have a couple of days to breathe and we'll have to manage those two days." This did end a stretch for the Jets of eight games in 14 days.
But he also gave the Oilers credit for a well played game. "They showed their speed and skill."
A win Thursday allows the Jets to continue the challenge for top spot in the Southeast, a Panthers win would give them some breathing room on the Jets. That's how close it is, and if the Jets can get back to playing the way they did when they went six games without a regulation loss, that is how close the race will stay.