It’s officially tough-sledding season for the Winnipeg Jets.
Hovering around .500, they have gone with alternating wins and losses in the last two weeks.
Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers mirrored that within the game at the MTS Centre, both good and bad.
"It’s something where every guy in this room has to look at themselves first and realize that there’s more to give," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd, who had both his team’s goals. "Everybody. It’s not OK to just go out there and do your job and come off the ice. We want guys who try to make an impact every time they touch the ice."
The Jets dropped to 5-6-1 at the quarter pole.
The Flyers are 6-7-1, winning for the first time in three tries on the second night of back-to-back games.
The home team showed early interest in this game but couldn’t break through. It was Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn who opened the scoring by redirecting a shot to the net. Winnipeg answered with Andrew Ladd’s quick release of a Blake Wheeler pass, catching Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov guessing. A later power play for Philly led to Kimo Timonen’s power-play goal, a screened point shot.
The second period was not dull, though it had no goals. Mark Stuart and Tye McGinn engaged in a spirited bout after Jakub Voracek dumped Jets goalie Al Montoya. Anthony Peluso received his second penalty of the game for charging Zac Rinaldo after Rinaldo piled James Wright into the boards. And Jets’ Evander Kane had three or four glorious chances but couldn’t break the drought that’s into its seventh game.
The Jets had all kinds of trouble handling the Flyers’ and their offensive-zone pressure, especially down low.
"They caught us with some bad coverage a couple of times, caught us running around," said Jets centre Bryan Little. "But I thought when we were playing in their end, we were all right."
The early going was not kind to the Jets. Voracek gobbled up Mark Stuart’s attempted clear up the boards and fired the puck to the edge of the crease, where McGinn tipped it home, left slightly uncovered by Paul Postma. But Ladd cashed in on a Kane pass at the crease to make it close again with 46.6 seconds to go.
After the buzzer
Little echoed Ladd — the win one, lose one scenario is grating. "I think we all know we need to get out of this funk if we’re going to make the playoffs and be a playoff team," Little said. "We can’t be playing that way, have a good game and then take a night off or take a period off. That’s the way it’s been going so far."
Jets coach Claude Noel sounded frustrated after the loss, Winnipeg’s third at home (3-3-0) this season.
"We had enough chances to gather some momentum, especially in the second period. We were decent in the first until we took a penalty. We had some momentum and some forecheck going.
"We had trouble handling their weight down low, below the goal line. That gave us some grief."
Noel didn’t like the overall product Tuesday. "We could have got a lot more A games from players and we didn’t," he said. "We’re going to need a lot more. We can’t seem to get going. We can’t seem to get untracked. We can’t seem to get consistent, cohesive play. It’s good it’s in spurts, it’s not. Why is that?"