Despite their 4-1 loss on Sunday to the Ottawa Senators, road losses have not been that common for the Winnipeg Jets this season. The club had won eight of their last 12 on the road, 10 of their last 15 overall, picking up 21 of a possible 30 points.
They now return home from a two game trip to Ontario in first place in the South East Division, with a one point lead on Carolina, with the Hurricanes having two games in hand. Sunday was the first regulation loss in seven games.
What made the loss in Ottawa disappointing for the team was the slow start, but in a way it wasn't too much of a surprise. Sunday's game was the Jets third in four nights. Saturday's win in Toronto was an emotional 10 round shootout.
Two tough, close games against the Leafs and another against the Rangers forced Coach Claude Noel to shorten his bench, and to top it off the flu bug is making its way through the team. Also, fatigue was a factor, both mentally and physically.
The penalty kill, that had been perfect for the last 11 games surrendered two goals, ending the perfect run at 29. Down 1-0 after an early goal by Guillaume Latendresse it was a power play goal by Jakob Silfverberg that hurt short term and long term. The Jets needed to get out of the first period just down one, and the goal that put them down two also ended up being the game winner.
Ondrej Pavelec again made many big saves in the first, keeping his team in the game, but it wasn't enough. The Jets had their chances. Zach Bogosian made it a 2-1 game early in the third with his second goal of the year, then with Dustin Byfuglien off for goalie interference Evander Kane had two great chances to tie the game short-handed. The first opportunity was a breakaway but he shot a rolling puck over the net, the second came on a two on one setup from Blake Wheeler with goaltender Robin Lehner making a great left pad save.
Another penalty led to a power play goal by Kyle Turris, before Silfverberg ended it with his second of the night and sixth of the year.
Andrew Ladd picked up an assist and now has 12 points in his last 10 games. Ladd leads the team in scoring and also leads them in road points with 16. Nik Antropov had his five game point streak end as the Jets had their three game win streak snapped. The three goal win for Ottawa ended a stretch of 11 straight one goal games. Despite a number of injuries to key people the Sens keep finding way to win, especially at home where they have only one regulation loss, and that was to the Jets. They do not give up a lot of goals as the Jets managed just three in the three games between the two teams.
"They took the play to us in the first, and our goalie held us in," stated Coach Noel post game. "In the third we got one and Kane had two chances to tie it. We tried to fight back with the energy we had left. They won the special teams game with our PK giving up two. But they made some nice plays. The dot to dot passes are tough on your goalie. Can't fault our effort."
Jets are now home for four starting with Boston Tuesday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290), Washington Thursday and Friday (Friday game starts at 6), and Tampa Sunday.