OTTAWA – Something’s got to give tonight when the occasionally offensive-challenged Winnipeg Jets meet the defensively spotty Ottawa Senators in the nation’s capital.
The Jets arrived here after Wednesday’s shoot-out loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs having scored just 10 goals in five games. And the Sens, who held a players’-only meeting earlier this week, have surrendered an astonishing 30 goals in their six games, five of them losses.
"It’s been frustrating to start the year off like this," said Senators’ forward Jason Spezza. "The positive thing is we’ve got a lot of hockey left to make up for the mistakes we’ve made and if we don’t make up for those mistakes it’s going to be a long year.
"We have to get our game in order here in quick time."
The Jets did show some positive signs in the loss to the Leafs, scoring for the first time on the power play as Tobias Enstrom, Mark Scheifele and Alex Burmistrov all hit the scoresheet for their first goals of the season. But a bad stretch in the third period cost them, as the Leafs rallied with power-play goals less than 30 seconds apart to erase a 3-1 deficit before winning in the shoot out.
"They’re a team that has some speed," said Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean in describing the Jets. "(Rookie Mark) Scheifele’s a good little player and their power-play hasn’t been great, but it’s been effective.
"(Dustin) Byfuglien is a big player and a big-time shooter who uses his size and (Tobias) Enstrom is really a good player... I think they both logged 30 minutes last night. Their first line with (Blake) Wheeler, (Bryan) Little and (Andrew) Ladd is going to be a handful for us and Evander Kane is a good young player with good speed who isn’t afraid to go to the net and (Jim) Slater’s line gives them some good physicality.
"They’re going to be every bit a handful as everybody has been to this point for us."
Game time is 6:30 p.m. CT.