WINNIPEG, MB – Not only has Winnipeg been colder then the North Pole the last few days with frigid arctic temperatures but the Jets have been as cold with a three-game losing streak as they returned home after a poor road trip.
“Certainly, for us this is probably the worst we’ve played,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. “We had nothing. We got a couple of power-play goals, but it was an empty game that we got very little production [from] in any facet of the game. I don’t have the answers. I don’t have them 15 minutes after that.”
With the Canadian Olympic team being announced and having the Tampa Bay Lightning in town with GM Steve Yzerman who also is the man in charge of the Canadian team this made for an interesting game with the omission of Tampa captain Martin St. Louis to the team.
Tampa Bay goalie Anders Linback wasn’t very busy as he made 12 saves off 14 shots to get the win.
Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec started off shaky but kept his team in the game with 30 saves taking the loss.
“It’s embarrassing,” Pavelec said. “We have to realize that we [are not] losing by accident anymore. It’s just the way we play. We can’t expect to be successful, that’s for sure.”
Both teams came out flat although Tampa scored early on some suspect play by Jets Dustin Byfuglien and maybe a mulligan from Ondrej Pavelec.
Valtteri Filppula ripped one for his 17th of the season past Pavelec just a minute twenty into the game.
If not for a two-man advantage which the Jets cashed in on this period would have been a bust but Olli Jokinen got his 11th on a nice feed from Mark Scheifele and Byfuglien to tie things at 1-1.
Byfuglien got his 10th also another power play marker in the second to give the Jets a 2-1 lead.
Ondrej Palat tied things at 2-2 late with his 8th of the season, after a brutal turn over by Eric Tangradi in the Tampa Bay zone .
This game was a chippy affair as Mark Stuart and Ryan Malone dropped the mitts in the first period and Chris Thorburn and B.J. Crombeen also had a dance in the second period.
The Jets seemed like they were playing without any purpose or urgency for most of this game.
“There was no energy,” Stuart said. “It was kind of whatever team woke up was going to win the game. We come back from the road, [and] we lose three games. We come back to our building in front of our fans, and we get what? [Fourteen] shots on net?”
St.Louis got his 18th on a power play to give the Lightning a 3-2 lead in the third. He also added an empty netter his 19th to seal this win.
“That’s why he is a champion,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “That’s why he has a Stanley Cup ring, and that’s why he is our captain. To go through something like that and respond the way he did, I can’t say enough about him.”
Things got nasty after the goal as Eric Brewer and Evander Kane dropped the gloves for a late scrap.
“I’m happy we got the win,” St. Louis said. “Obviously, for Team Canada, you guys can’t imagine how I feel. Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed, and I’ll just leave it at that. I’ve said what I have to say about it, and we’ll just leave it at that.”
The Jets fall to 19-22-5 on the season and will have to compete better on Saturday against the Blue Jackets if they wanna snap this four game skid.
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