May 22, 2015


Record: 43 – 26 – 13

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Winnipeg Jets

Maurice magic has limitations

It would seem the magic pixie dust Paul Maurice has sprinkled generously on the Winnipeg Jets does have some limitations.

The Jets fell 4-3 to the Nashville Predators Tuesday night at the MTS Centre and, along the way, clanged a couple off posts, missed some glorious opportunities and had some of the good fortune they’ve enjoyed since the new boss slipped behind the bench go the other way.

Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) goes for the wrap-around against Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton (30) and Paul Gaustad (28) during the third period of Tuesday's game. The Predators won 4-3.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) goes for the wrap-around against Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton (30) and Paul Gaustad (28) during the third period of Tuesday's game. The Predators won 4-3. Photo Store

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd fires a puck during warmup before his team plays the Nashville Predators in Winnipeg on Tuesday. The entire team wore a Rick Rypien jersey during the warmup in honour of 27-year-old Rypien, who had a long history of depression and killed himself less than two months after he signed with the Jets in 2011.

TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd fires a puck during warmup before his team plays the Nashville Predators in Winnipeg on Tuesday. The entire team wore a Rick Rypien jersey during the warmup in honour of 27-year-old Rypien, who had a long history of depression and killed himself less than two months after he signed with the Jets in 2011.

The result: the Jets are back to .500 at 25-25-5 — and 6-2 under Maurice — after a sloppy but hard-fought contest to a Central Division rival. The loss vaulted the Predators, now 24-23-8, one point ahead of the Jets into 11th spot in the Western Conference.

"I think we had a good understanding of how (the game) was going to look and it looked exactly how we thought it would at the start and right through," said Maurice. "It’s such a hard, grinding game. It was a battle level right through.

"Listen, that group... you could see it in their faces coming to the bench: they gave everything they absolutely had. There was nothing easy. That game, we spent a lot here, as they should have, in the last week and they gave absolutely everything they had."

SOME OF THE NEW, SOME OF THE OLD


The Jets followed some of the same formula that has brought them so much success of late, out-hitting the Preds 45-17 as Maurice shortened the bench to squeeze maximum performances out of his top three lines and top two defence pairings.

But the Jets were also guilty of some breakdowns defensively — credited with 18 turnovers — and didn’t get the game-changing goaltending from Ondrej Pavelec and Al Montoya that had been the trademark of the recent run.

And, hey, lets also credit the Predators, who, coming off a shootout loss to Calgary and a 5-1 thrashing in Edmonton, served up the kind of opportunistic road gem that is their blueprint.

"They just got spanked 5-1 against Edmonton and coming in you just felt it was going to be a really tough game," said Blake Wheeler, who scored his 22nd goal, a career high. "I think we were in the box a little bit more than we wanted to be. They had a good push there in the second period and we responded and it would have been nice to start the third five on five. That said we’ve got to try to kill it off and go from there.

"From there, we were fighting an uphill battle and you were looking at four or five guys every time you went up the ice. And we still had opportunities, hit a post or two and had a couple really good looks in front of their net and sometimes that’s the way it goes."

KIDS ARE HOT TONIGHT

The Jets got a goal and an assist from Mark Scheifele and his two-point night gives him 31 (10 goals, 21 assists) on the season, moving him past Chris Kreider into third place in rookie scoring.

The Jets’ other freshman phenom, Jacob Trouba, picked up two assists, giving him seven points in his last seven games.

Predators rookie Seth Jones opened the scoring, wheeling around Toby Enstrom before beating Ondrej Pavelec with a wraparound.

But it was 14-year veteran Mike Fisher who played the hero, beating Pavelec 42 seconds into the third period for what was the game-winner. That goal came with Devin Setoguchi in the penalty box for slashing Shea Weber, right after the Preds’ D-man mugged him along the boards.

"That was a penalty we can’t take," said Maurice, "and that was addressed. Discipline, especially when you are playing five games in eight, is paramount."

Setoguchi, to his credit, had one of his best shifts later in the game after the penalty, throwing his body around in the offensive zone.

"Teammates want an opportunity to learn from a mistake," said Maurice. "And then you expect a response like that, an understanding of responsibility and the respect for his teammates to do everything he possibly can to do it back."

AND THE RESPONSE IS...?

The Jets have done this before, teased and then disappointed. They won four straight from Nov. 8-15 and then went winless in their next four and, after cranking out three consecutive W’s after Christmas, then dropped five in a row to cost Claude Noel his job.

"We’re not thinking about that at all," said Mark Stuart. "It’s a loss, we’ll review it and then we’ve got to move on. We need points. We’re not going to dwell on this one, that’s for sure."


ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca


Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) stops Nashville Predators' David Legwand (11) right in front of the net during first period in Winnipeg Tuesday.
Winnipeg Jets' Jacob Trouba (8), Mark Stuart (5) and Chris Thorburn (22) celebrate Thorburn's first goal of the season during the  first period of Tuesday's game against the Nashville Predators in Winnipeg.
A shot by Winnipeg Jets' Chris Thorburn (22), not shown, beats Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton (30) as Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) and Predators' Roman Josi (59) battle in front of the net during first period at Winnipeg's MTS Centre Tuesday.
Nashville Predators' Seth Jones (3) celebrates after scoring a first-period goal against the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday.
The puck sits in the back of the net after Nashville Predators' Seth Jones (3) scores with a wrap-around on Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) during first period of Tuesday's game in Winnipeg.
Nashville Predators players celebrate a second-period goal by Nick Spaling (13) against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre Tuesday.
Winnipeg Jets' head coach Paul Maurice talks to his players during the second period of Tuesday's game in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg Jets' Bryan Little (18) gets checked by Nashville Predators' Paul Gaustad (28) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) gets around Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton (30) just before shooting the puck off of Shea Weber (6) for a second-period goal Tuesday.
Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) gets around Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton (30) just before shooting the puck off Shea Weber (6) for the goal.
Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton (30) saves Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler's (26) shot but the puck goes off his leg and into the goal — the Jets' third during second period in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) celebrates his second-period goal on Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton (30) during Tuesday's game in Winnipeg.
Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton's (30) save goes off of his own leg for the goal by Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler's (26) as Jets' Jacob Trouba (8) and Preds' Seth Jones (3) look on during second period in Winnipeg Tuesday.
Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler's (26) celebrates his goal against the Nashville Predators during second period NHL action in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Winnipeg Jets players celebrate a goal by teammate Blake Wheeler (26) after he beat Nashville Predators' goaltender Carter Hutton (30) during second period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg Jets' Devin Setoguchi (40) fights for the puck with Nashville Predators' Patric Hornqvist (27) during the second period of Tuesday's game at MTS Centre.
History

Updated on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 12:27 PM CST: updates with full writethru

7:40 PM: Changes photo.

7:47 PM: Updates score after first period; changes headline.

8:32 PM: Adds slideshow.

8:42 PM: Updates score after first period; changes headline.

9:51 PM: Updates final score; changes headline.

9:54 PM: Replaces pre-game story with post-game wire story.

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