Colorado Avalanche 3, Winnipeg Jets 2 - The Winnipeg Jets are now 2-2-1 on the road this season with each game being decided by one goal. On the season, the Jets are 5-6-2 and on the four-game road trip, are 1-1-1. The loss marked the first time this season the Jets lost when leading after two, and was also the first time this season the Colorado Avalanche trailed after two periods.
It was a frustrating game from a Winnipeg standpoint and that was very evident in the post-game comments from the players, as well as coach Claude Noel. Frustrating because of missed chances that could have got them something out of this game, frustrated because the power play went zero for five and has now gone eight games without scoring, and frustrating because of defensive zone breakdowns.
Colorado created some chances early as they tried to jump on a Jets team that had played the night before. Matt Duchene with his ninth of the year opened the scoring but for the most part, the Jets weathered the storm and just under three minutes after Duchene's goal, Bryan Little with his sixth of the year tied it and the first period ended 1-1.
The Jets scored the only goal of the second period, with Blake Wheeler taking a drop pass from Little and blasting it through Semyon Varlamov for the go-ahead goal. Second period shots favoured the Jets 11-9. For parts of the period, the teams traded chances with both Varlamov and Al Montoya coming up with big saves. It was Montoya's second start of the season.
Jan Hejda evened the game at 7:13 of the third; a goal that put the Jets on their heels forcing Montoya to come up with some big stops. With over seven minutes left, the Jets went on the power play with the opportunity to regain the lead but could not get any sustained pressure. That penalty kill again injected a little more life into the Avs with Paul Stastny scoring what proved to be the winner at 14:32. The Jets pressed in the final 90 seconds looking for the equalizer but right now not much puck luck going the Jets way. The Avs did force turnovers in the third, outshooting the Jets 17-6.
From Evander Kane to Devin Setoguchi, the players felt the one goal lead after two periods should have turned into a win and that the Jets were their own worst enemy identifying giveaways and the struggling power play as areas that need to be fixed. Coach Noel agreed.
"We could have won. We made poor decisions especially in the third. Mistakes cost us the last two goals, things we haven't done lately."
Coach Noel did talk about changing the personnel on the power play referencing last year's power play struggles that are again costing them points.
Andrew Ladd led the way with six shots on goal, Little five. Add missed shots as another concern as the Jets missed the net 20 times and had another 19 blocked. Great chances went for not because of it. But the positive side of that is the chances were there. The Jets created enough offensively to win this game and to beat the top team in the Central Division.
Prior to the game, it was learned that Paul Postma is out for an extended period of time with a blood clot in his leg. That news brought Adam Pardy into the game. Chris Thorburn returned to the lineup after missing 10 with Anthony Peluso coming out.
The Jets are now 0-2 in the second game of back-to-backs, with eight more on the schedule. The road trip concludes in St. Louis Tuesday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) with the Jets then returning home to face two Original Six teams, Chicago Saturday afternoon and Detroit Monday.
Tuesday will be the second meeting of the season with the Blues, the Jets winning a seven round shootout at MTS centre the first meeting. A win and the Jets return home with five of a possible eight points, but again, a solid 60 minutes will be needed, and a solid 60 is something that has eluded the Jets on a number of occasions in the early going this season.