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Blue Jackets slap Jets 6-3

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Columbus Blue Jackets' Derek MacKenzie (24), Mark Letestu (55), RJ Umberger (18), Ryan Murray (27) and James Wisniewski (21) celebrate after Letestu's third-period goal on Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) in Winnipeg Saturday.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Columbus Blue Jackets' Derek MacKenzie (24), Mark Letestu (55), RJ Umberger (18), Ryan Murray (27) and James Wisniewski (21) celebrate after Letestu's third-period goal on Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) in Winnipeg Saturday. Photo Store

WINNIPEG -- Not only did they not stick when thrown against the wall, the line changes implemented by the Winnipeg Jets for tonight’s home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets proved one thing.

It’s defence, not combinations, that wins hockey games and the Jets have none of that right now.

The Blue Jackets, entering the game just three points out of the basement of the consensus worst division in the NHL, the Metropolitan, played 40 minutes at the MTS Centre and still had no trouble beating the Jets 6-3.

That’s five losses in a row, sinking Winnipeg to 19-23-5. It matches last season’s late-season swoon but last spring, the playoffs were amazingly still in sight. Right now, a top-three draft pick seems more likely.

The Jets jumped out smartly to a 1-0 lead on Eric O’Dell’s first NHL goal and had their chances to lead by more.

And then, the crumbling began in the form of Mark Letestu’s shorthanded goal just 36 seconds into the second period.

“The only way we’re getting out of this is sticking together"

-Jets' captain Andrew Ladd.

"We had a good start then a few things go the other way and frustration sets in and we let it get the best of us and it continued to spiral after that," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd.

He agreed the team is clearly fragile in this spiral.

"I think you feel like you’re in a deep pit and you’re trying to crawl and scratch your way out of it," he said. "Maybe panic sets in a little bit. You don’t want the puck, you’re scared to make a mistake and things start to go the other way.

"The only way we’re getting out of this is sticking together."

Jets centre Bryan Little, who snapped an 11-game goal drought with a marker in the third, said the task gets all the more difficult.

"There’s definitely been tough times, definitely it’s magnified when you’re in Winnipeg," Little said. "I’ve had some tough times in Atlanta where no one seems to care. No one’s asking you questions, it’s not in the paper and people aren’t in the room after the game. There’s definitely more pressure right now to get out of this and it makes it a lot harder."

Oh, that defence

In the five-game losing streak, the Jets have surrendered 24 goals. They are quickly moving down the league’s goals-against chart and their deficit of goals scored vs. against is minus-17.

"One of the things is right now we suffer from confidence," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "There are some things we’re not doing very well. We’re not defending very well but we’re not even passing the puck very well. And even on breakout, we have the puck in our zone with full possession and no pressure and we don’t want the puck.

"We’re just rimming it to somebody else and it ends up back in our zone again. Right now, adversity is really the enemy and we’re not dealing with it very well."

Captain call-out

Ladd pointed the finger squarely at himself after his minus-two game.

"I’ll take full responsibility for my play," Ladd said. "I was awful tonight. For a team struggling, probably looking for leaders, I wasn’t very good. I need to be a lot better and I will be going forward."

Noel expanded on the observation.

"Sometimes he takes the burden of the team on his shoulders," the coach said. "That’s what good leaders do. I’ve got to try to help Andrew. A guy like him will have triple the effect of other players because of the burden he puts on himself.

"Trying too hard, that’s one of the problems you get. Trying too hard, you do more damage."

Line juggler

Every forward line was changed tonight with Dustin Byfuglien’s move to right wing with Little and Ladd and Evander Kane’s hand injury that kept him out.

The new combinations didn’t do anything terribly special and certainly didn’t cause an improvement to defending.

Here’s about the best thing that could be said, from Noel: "I thought Buff was OK. He got good support from the fans early, which was good to see."

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) stops a bouncing puck with Mark Stuart (5) and Columbus Blue Jackets' Boone Jenner (38) in front of the net during the first period at Winnipeg's MTS Centre Saturday.

Live Winnipeg Jets Coverage Twitter bird

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets exit to boos at MTS Centre after dropping fifth straight, 6-3 to a Columbus Blue Jackets squad that won last night at home. 8:41 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Bryan Little breaks 11-game goal drought with his 15th. Jets back on PP trailing 5-3. 8:20 pm on Jan 11

  • DoubleEmMartin

    @DoubleEmMartin: You know that thing where you get a wound and then use a lighter to do a li'l DIY cautery and it hurts soo much until... nevermind #NHLJets 7:38 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Toby Enstrom blasts his 5th to pull the #NHLJets a bit closer; now down 4-2 to Blue Jackets. 7:36 pm on Jan 11

  • DoubleEmMartin

    @DoubleEmMartin: You know that thing where you sustain a tragic wound and dump rubbing alcohol on it and it hurts sooo much until it gets better? #NHLJets 7:35 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: So that's four goals in 9:07 to start second period for the Blue Jackets and it's 4-1. Ugly with a capital 'Ugh' for the #NHLJets. 7:29 pm on Jan 11

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: Like a cheap lawn chair...#nhljets 7:28 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Boone Jenner scores on penalty shot against Ondrej Pavelec after being hauled down by Adam Pardy. Now 4-1 Blue Jackets over #NHLJets. 7:28 pm on Jan 11

  • RickRalphTSN

    @RickRalphTSN: 5 of the 6 shorthanded goals allowed by the #NHLJets this season have come at home. 7:22 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets call time out after Cam Atkinson scores his 13th on tic-tac-goal passing play. 2-1 Blue Jackets. 7:17 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: That was the sixth short-handed goal the #NHLJets have surrendered this year. Only Edmonton (8) and Philly (7) have given up more. 7:15 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets PP gives up shorthanded goal to Mark Letestu. 1-1 tie. 7:12 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets lead Blue Jackets 1-0 after 1. Early take to the all line juggling so far? Meh. 6:52 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets have goal disallowed and 1:07 later get on the board when Eric O'Dell stuffs home his first career goal. 1-0 Wpg over CBJ. 6:24 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets starters: Stuart, Trouba, Jokinen, Wheeler, Setoguchi and Pavelec. Scratched: Kane, Peluso, Redmond 5:59 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Story that didn't appear on our website this morning on #NHLJets line changes: winnipegfreepress.com/sports/hockey/… 12:59 pm on Jan 11

  • WFPHockey

    @WFPHockey: Byfuglien adjusting to new role as forward; true test comes tonight bit.ly/KNpb5q #NHLJets 12:28 pm on Jan 11

  • RickRalphTSN

    @RickRalphTSN: No Kane tonight for #NHLJets. Kane is not able. 11:20 am on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Evander Kane has now left the ice after about 10 minutes. 9:40 am on Jan 11

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Evander Kane on the ice this morning for #NHLJets. Dustin Byfuglien still wearing forward colours. 9:28 am on Jan 11

History

Updated on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 4:58 PM CST: Adds live Twitter feed.

6:54 PM: Updates first period score; changes headline.

7:26 PM: Updates score, changes headline after second period.

7:45 PM: Adds slideshow.

8:49 PM: Adds final score, changes headline.

9:48 PM: Changes photo after game.

10:26 PM: Adds post-game write-thru.

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