Beyak: Jets frustrated after coming up empty against Blues

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Dennis Beyak
10/30/2013 9:08:05 AM
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The Winnipeg Jets finished the four game Central Division trip at 1-2-1, and are now 2-3-1 on the road this season, with each game being decided by one goal.

In Edmonton, a 5-4 win, Minnesota a 2-1 loss, Nashville a 3-2 loss in overtime, Dallas a 2-1 shoot-out win, Colorado a 3-2 loss and St. Louis a 3-2 loss. Add up the goals for in the last five road games and the total is eight. (Shootout winner in Dallas not in the total). The inability to get that third goal has been costly. On this four-game trip, Blake Wheeler (3), Bryan Little (2), Anthony Peluso (1), Evander Kane (1) were the only Jets to score. Andrew Ladd had the winner in the shootout win in Dallas.

In St. Louis, the Jets again surrendered the first goal as Brenden Morrow scored his second of the year. The Jets (5-7-2) have only scored the first goal of the game three times. They tied it on a 5-on-3 power play with Wheeler scoring his fourth goal in the last five games, and snapping an eight-game team power play drought. The Jets did not score a 5-on-3 goal in 10 opportunities last year.

The physical first period ended tied at 1-1. There was no scoring in the second period with special teams the key in the third.

Alex Pietrangelo regained the lead for St. Louis as the Blues forced a turnover in the Jets zone. The Jets penalty kill was excellent in this game against the league's number one power play. While killing their fifth penalty, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little broke into the Blues zone with Little finishing the play off with his second short-handed goal of the season. It was Little's seventh goal of the year, tying his output from last year.

"I'm shooting more and not squeezing the stick as much," Little would say on the TSN Jets post-game interview.

It appeared as though the Jets would go to overtime for the fifth time in seven games until Toby Enstrom was called for interference at 17:47, giving St. Louis one last power play chance, and Alexander Steen would put a back hand shot off the post, off Ondrej Pavelec's pad and in for the game winner. It was his league-leading 11th goal of the year and came with one minute left in the third.

The Jets again had quality chances with no results. Wheeler hit the inside of the post late in the second, while Jaroslav Halak made a number of key saves in the third, including one off Michael Frolik at the side of the net that would have given the Jets the lead.
 
There was plenty of frustration in the Jets room after this one. Finding ways to lose was a common quote. It was a heart-breaking loss in a game the Jets deserved at least a point. But shorthanded six times is too many as the Jets now lead the NHL in short-handed situations.

Little took 27 face-offs, Mark Stuart blocked six shots, Dustin Byfuglien played 26:35, all team highs.

Head coach Claude Noel, like his players, was frustrated with another one goal defeat.

"We gave ourselves a chance, but we found a way to lose," said Noel. "We gave their power play a lot of opportunities. This could have been a decent trip."

The Jets return to action at MTS Centre Saturday afternoon against Chicago (TSN 1290) and Monday against Detroit (TSN Jets, TSN 1290.) They will play 14 games in 28 days in November.

Defenceman Ben Chiarot was recalled from St. John's but did not play. The Jets have defenceman Jacob Trouba and Paul Postma on IR, as well as forward Jim Slater. A number of others are also battling bumps and bruises.

Claude Noel (Photo: Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
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