ST. LOUIS — It is a scene that became common on the Winnipeg Jets’ four-game jaunt through their new neighbourhood that took them from Tennessee to Texas, Colorado to Missouri.
And it might best be described by one ‘F’ word that was spit out repeatedly during the course of four games in six days and especially after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center.
And no, it’s not the ‘F’ word you might think.
"What can you say? Our players are frustrated. We’re frustrated," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "We’re finding ways to lose games. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game. The frustrating part is this is back-to-back games now where we’ve found ways to lose the game. This is not an easy building to win in and we knew that their power play was strong and that was one of the keys to the game: keep them off the power play. And we gave them five power plays and late in the game.
"It’s just a different way to find a way to lose on a trip that could have been decent for us. It turns out we just added more frustration to our play."
SPECIAL TEAMS THRILLS AND CHILLS
The Jets ended a long drought with the man advantage with Blake Wheeler’s fifth goal of the season in the first period — coming with two Blues players in the penalty box. And Bryan Little’s short-handed goal in the third period evened the score at 2-2 and had the Jets in position to at least escape St. Louis with one point.
But, alas, Toby Enstrom took an interference penalty outside his own blueline with 2:13 remaining and Alex Steen potted the winner with just 60 ticks left. And so a Jets penalty-kill unit that had shut down the NHL’s deadliest power-play unit on its first five chances watched the red light flash behind Ondrej Pavelec on the sixth — for the game-winner.
"We’re not going to kill all of them," said Pavelec. "It’s a pretty good team, it’s the No. 1 power play so if you give them more than, like two, they’re going to score, they’re going to find a way. If you give them an opportunity to win the game they’re going to do it. It’s disappointing. We were there, we were in the battle. But it’s not good enough."
"We’re shooting ourselves in the foot, taking penalties with a couple minutes left," added Bryan Little. "It’s frustrating. Our penalty kill had been good tonight for the most part.
We’ve got to find a way to close these games out and at least give ourselves a chance."
IF IT’S NOT ONE THING, IT’S THREE OTHERS
The Jets served up decent efforts in Denver and St. Louis over the last two games but came away with nada. They did a commendable job shutting down one of the NHL’s deadliest trios in Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie Tuesday night and carried a lead into the third period against the mighty Avalanche on Sunday, but have zero to show for it this morning.
And it’s starting to eat these guys up big time.
"It’s frustrating," said Devin Setoguchi. "A lot of guys put in the work on this trip and we lost one-goal games. That’s the way it goes in the West... it’s one-goal games and we’ve got to find the way to win them.
"We’ve got to score. I’ve got to score. We can’t have the same three guys doing it every night. We’ve got to help out those guys that keep doing it. That’s what it comes down to.
"I feel like we took some strides on this trip. We laid off the gas for a little bit and that’s the difference the other night and tonight."