There are going to be nights like these, Winnipeg Jets fans. Maybe plenty of them.
The Jets brought their work boots and hard hats to the MTS Centre Monday night, rolled up their sleeves and got to straight to the task of doing all the grunt work required for their second consecutive win and third of the season. And yet, despite outshooting the New York Rangers 28-17, despite clanging a couple off posts and controlling the play for long stretches -- particularly in the third period -- at the end of the evening the home side was staring at a 2-1 loss, and left with a handful of blisters, an aching back and diddly to show for a night's work.
"I thought we battled hard, we had a lot of chances and got a lot of pucks to the net," said defenceman Zach Bogosian. "They blocked a lot of shots, their goalie battled well for them. We had a couple of posts and there was one shift where we were in their zone for over two minutes. The next shift they go down and get a bounce in off my skate.
"That's the way the game goes sometimes. You've just got to look forward to tomorrow and get ready for the road trip."
The Rangers got the game winner on a fluke and against the flow of play. With Chris Thorburn in the penalty box for tripping, the Rangers' anemic power play -- anemic before scoring twice last night -- had the winner bounce in off Bogosian on a shot by Ryan Callahan.
Shut out in Edmonton on Saturday, the Rangers managed just three shots in the first period, but opened the scoring early in the second with the man advantage when Ruslan Fedotenko deftly tipped a point shot past Jets netminder Chris Mason.
The Jets tied the game with 5:31 left in the second as Nik Antropov pounded on a loose puck in the Rangers zone and wristed home a shot short side on goaltender Marty Biron for his second of the year.
"It was one of those nights," said Jets defenceman Johnny Oduya. "The opposition goalie played great and shuts us down. What can you do other than keep working? We have a little bit of an idea now of how we want to play and how we want to win games. This is at least a step in the right direction."
The Jets fall to 2-5-1 on the season while the Rangers ended a seven-game road trip to open the season with a 3-2-2 record.
"We probably deserved a better fate. We played a decent game," said Jets head coach Claude Noel. "We've got to get a little bit better on the details, such as the power plays we give the opponents. They were a little bit fortunate on their goals, but that's what happens when you get pucks to the net.
"I thought we could have easily won the game. When you've got them on the run and they're gasping for air and you're trying to pound everything in there... you got to find ways to get the puck in there and there's no pretty ways to do it. I thought we did everything but score in that (third-period) shift."
The Jets now head out on their longest road trip of the season -- visits to Philly, Tampa, Florida, Long Island, New Jersey, New York and Buffalo.
"You've got to look at some things, some (line) combinations," said Noel. "How do you get this thing untracked? We've got a lot of guys not going... they're working. I have no problems with their work. It's just things aren't getting created where they are offensive players and if you don't help them you end up breeding frustration."
JETCETERA: Alex Burmistrov drew an assist on Antropov's goal, extending his point streak to five games. He leads the Jets with seven points (2G, 5A) in eight games... Monday was the first visit by the Rangers to Winnipeg since losing a 6-3 decision on Nov. 17, 1995. The Blueshirts' last win in Winnipeg was waaaay back on Nov. 21, 1992 with Phil Bourque scoring twice and John Vanbiesbrouck stopping 21 shots.
ed.Tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait