MONTREAL — Playing with fire on the road, the Winnipeg Jets got burned on special teams Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
Montreal Canadiens playmaker Tomas Plekanec scored on his team’s first power-play chance in a 3-3 game in the third period and the Habs have a four-game winning streak in play with their 4-3 victory over the Jets.
Winnipeg’s three-game winning streak is out the window. The team’s record is now 3-2-1, and 1-1-1 on the road.
After the buzzer
It’s really all the Jets talked about after the game, that they failed on their three advantages of the third period and that the Canadiens scored on their first one.
"I think it came down to specialty teams," said Jets centre Olli Jokinen. "We had our chances in the third period, we got power plays and we weren’t able to capitalize on our chances. They got a power play and got a goal."
"That was the difference. All the games, they usually come down to that."
Winnipeg went one for six on the night with the power play, while Montreal was two for five.
The visitors started slowly, generating just six shots in the first period. Rene Bourque and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal to establish a 2-0 lead. Lucky for the Jets they received a power play late in the frame and Blake Wheeler connected in the first 21 seconds with a one-timer.
"They came out hard and we were on our heels a little," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. "We had to get back on our toes."
Much better things for the Jets, as the team did just that in the second. A much more complete game helped them generate goals by Nik Antropov and Olli Jokinen, the first of the season for both, to actually pull in front 3-2
"I think we started to get a little momentum," Wheeler said.
"They had some good bounces and I’m not taking any credit away from them but they got a few breaks tonight. I never felt like they were outplaying us or we were overmatched.
"I think we stuck with it and had a good second period to get ourselves back in the game."
But Montreal’s Erik Cole whacked home a puck from a scramble at 15:08 to make it 3-3, setting the table for the third.
The Habs emerged with the win when Plekanec fired a shot on goal that banked off the skate of Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey.
It looked like it might have been a pass/shot, though there were no Habs in the vicinity of the crease.
"It’s something we did really well in the first five games, stay out of the box and not give teams opportunities to swing momentum and goals to either get ahead or back in the game," Ladd said.
"But in saying that, you’re going to take penalties and you’ve got to be able to kill them off, too."
The Jets had three opportunities in the third period, all three of them thanks to dumb Montreal penalties, but could not cash another goal on goalie Carey Price.
"It’s too bad," Wheeler said. "We’ve been very disciplined all year. We set ourselves back a bit giving them all those opportunities."