NASHVILLE — It’s a tired refrain, spit out often by a Winnipeg Jets squad which has mastered the art of finding silver linings in defeat.
And the frustration of it all bubbled to the surface following Thursday night’s 3-2 OT loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
"We got a point... that’s a good thing. But I don’t know what to say," said goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. "It’s over and over. It’s tough to say something.
"It’s frustrating. We can feel sorry for ourselves. Positives? We lost the game in overtime and I don’t take any positives. We need the points. That’s all that matters. If we’re going to tell ourselves, ‘Oh we played good one period we can build on it’... no, we need two points."
The OT loss drops the Jets record to 4-5-2 in the start of an important early-season jaunt through the Central Division that continues Saturday in Dallas.
THE COACH SAYS...
Claude Noel summed up his team’s game succinctly after the loss, answering just a couple of questions in 2:57 of a post-game interview. And what he said in just under three minutes also offered a hint at his own frustration with his inconsistent team.
"I thought we started off the first 10 minutes and we were really solid, did a lot of good things... pretty much textbook," said Noel. "From there we weren’t able to sustain some of the stuff we were doing... we played inconsistent.
"The big task for our team is to be consistent through 60 minutes. We continue to play in spurts. You see some really good things and you see some other things — the first five minutes of the third period, we were nowhere. We couldn’t get out clean, we couldn’t get things going. It’s like, ‘Are you serious right now?’ That makes it difficult. It really comes from puck management, support, different little details in our game.
"We did some good things in the game. We played a good road game. We battled physically, we got people to the net, we got traffic at the net.
"And then the last 10 minutes of the first period we wanted to play cute. We were making plays in front of the defence, we were getting stalled, we weren’t getting it deep, we weren’t getting pucks to the net again. It’s like, ‘What is this, Jekyll and Hyde?’ "
POINT GAINED OR POINT LOST?
The Jets rallied from a 2-1 deficit to tie the contest with 3:01 left when Blake Wheeler buried a Zach Bogosian rebound behind Carter Hutton for his second goal in as many games and third of the season.
But then in OT an Evander Kane clearing pass from his defensive zone bounced away from Dustin Byfuglien to Predators forward David Legwand, who then fed Craig Smith for winner with just 17 seconds left.
So... point gained, given the late Wheeler goal, or point lost?
"I would think point lost," said Noel. "We know they play this type of game. That’s all fine. But for me it’s a point lost. We expect to take steps. We didn’t take a step backwards, OK. But we need to take another step. And when it is it going to come? We can’t wait here forever. We’re on to 11 games and there need to be some steps forward."
"It’s a game we’d like to win," said Wheeler. "We had momentum going into overtime, but a bad bounce there and it ends up being the game winner. I think there’s a lot more than that... there’s some bouncing pucks...
"These division games you’d like to get two, but it didn’t work out that way tonight."