When you are not scoring goals your margin for error is very small. Every face-off, every penalty, every turnover, every missed chance, every save, every power play, every decision the coach makes, gets magnified.
That is where the Winnipeg Jets find themselves right now with eight goals in the last four games. Yet, it has resulted in two wins and two losses. In their three game winning streak earlier this season they scored four, four and five goals. A three game road trip had them give up 18 goals so the need to be better defensively was there. The question now is can they find the balance between defence and offence?
A few more first period goals would help. They did get one in the first against the Flyers, but only their seventh first period goal of the season, and four came in the first three games. Playing a decent first period and going to the dressing room without a goal or without the lead can get somewhat frustrating. Only four times this season have the Jets scored the first goal of the game.
Brayden Schenn opened the scoring despite the fact the Flyers were badly outplayed in the first six minutes. Andrew Ladd tied it, only to have Kimmo Timonen regain less than three minutes later with a power-play goal. The Jets had a terrific final two minutes of the second but could not beat Ilya Bryzgalov and trailed by one going into the third. Nor could they carry the momentum into the third. Tye McGinn made it 3-1, Ladd with his second made it 3-2 with 47 seconds left, but that was the final. Ladd now has six goals on the year. Blake Wheeler had two assists, Kane one assist as for the second straight game, and only the second time this season, the Jets did not get points from defencemen.
The Jets, trailing in the third, on home ice, rested vs a team that played the night before, had two power-plays in the third, yet were outshot 11-6 in the final period. Some players felt it was a lack of urgency, others felt it was frustration and trying too hard to make the perfect play.
Al Montoya started in goal but left after the second with a lower body injury, an injury that happened late in the second off a face-off. He will be re-evaluated Wednesday. Ondrej Pavelec came in for the third.
Dustin Byfuglien returned to the lineup after missing five games, played 24:24 but managed only one shot on goal. Good chance that Zach Bogosian returns from IR for Friday's game vs Pittsburgh. (TSN 1290. NOTE GAME TIME – 6 PM). Grant Clitsome and Chris Thorburn were healthy scratches, with Anthony Peluso taking Thorburn's spot in the lineup. It was Peluso's NHL debut.
"I didn't care much for the game," stated Coach Claude Noel post-game. "We played in spurts. Trouble in the neutral zone, their weight down low gave us grief, we got nothing from the power play in the third." This quote may have summed it up the best, "We need more 'A' games. It's a game we let slip away." With the win the Flyers moved ahead of the Jets in the Eastern Conference.
Some statistics from the game:
-Bryan Little over 20 minutes for the fourth straight game
-Jim Slater 11-0 in the face-off department
-Evander Kane six shots on goal
-Tobias Enstrom 25:52 lead the team in ice time
-Wheeler and Ladd were each plus two.
After Pittsburgh Friday, it's Boston at the MTS Centre Sunday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) with puck drop just after 5 pm, then 9 of 11 on the road. So not a lot of time for the coaches to find solutions, but find them they must, only 36 games remain.