After a difficult loss to Ottawa on Monday, the Winnipeg Jets were back on the ice against the East Division leading New York Rangers Wednesday evening. Eight points out of a playoff spot with six games to go is not a good situation.
An area the Jets have struggled in this season is the five-on-three power play. In the first period they had one for one minute and 43 seconds but failed to score, so they are now two-for-twelve on the season.
With the game scoreless, the Jets scored two in 56 seconds - the first one from Spencer Machacek, his second, and the second from Bryan Little, his 23rd. Machacek now has two goals and seven points in six games since his second recall of the season. Little now has four goals in his last five games.
The game had some interesting twists and turns. The Jets had the first five power-plays of the game, but it was on the fifth power-play, when leading 2-0, that the game turned. A short-handed goal by Michael Del Zotto got the Rangers on the board and then it was the Jets turn to head to the penalty box as they took the six penalties. A power-play goal by Ryan Callahan tied it late in the second. Before the period was out, Andrew Ladd got a double-minor for high sticking with 1:07 left in the second. But the Jets killed it off only to have Brian Boyle jam one in 14 seconds after the kill to give the Rangers the lead. Then the Rangers showed why they give up the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference. Another power-play goal put it away, giving the Rangers a 4-2 win and four game sweep of the season series.
"The turning point was the short-handed goal," commented coach Claude Noel. "They then took the game over. Our power-play did not execute, the five on three is sometimes an indication of your skill level."
The magnitude of the recent games seems to have taken a lot of energy out of the Jets. They started well but once they fell behind and the Rangers went into their defensive style, the Jets could not muster much of an attack; finishing with only five shots in the third period. From early in the second to the end of the game, the Rangers outshot the Jets, 24-11.
The Jets now depart on a four-game road trip starting in Carolina on Friday. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290). Chris Mason will start in goal. Games against Tampa, Florida, and the Islanders will conclude the road schedule, with the final regular season home game April 7th against Tampa.
Nik Antropov should be back in the lineup Friday, with Chris Thorburn possible for next week. Eric Fehr remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.