Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets fold like cheap accordions

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Alex Gallardo / The Associated Press

Winnipeg Jets' right wing Matt Halischuk (15) scores on Anaheim Ducks' goalie Frederik Andersen, right, in the first period of Monday's game in Anaheim.

ANAHEIM -- This, for two periods at least, is the way Paul Maurice wants his Winnipeg Jets to play.

The third period and overtime? That's the team that got Claude Noel fired.

The Jets gave up a 4-0 lead to fall 5-4 in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks in the largest come-from-behind win in their team history.

Near perfection for 40 minutes and then a complete collapse that saw the Ducks scored five unanswered, including the tying goal in the last minute of the game and then a quick winner in overtime from Stephane Robidas.

The opening two periods featured a strong Winnipeg puck possession game that left the Ducks with no ammo. Only 11 shots through two period for Anaheim and its dangerous snipers Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne.

The advanced stats were off the charts for the Jets through the first two frames and this was better than Maurice could have ever drawn it up. Beleaugered Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec faced just four shots in the first period and then only seven in the second. If not for all the heavy padding he wouldn't have broken a sweat.

But two-thirds of a game and no finish is the prologue of a loser's book. Finish and results are the name of the game in the NHL and the Jets have now just won four of their last 15. If you need an answer as to why, Monday night's performance tells it all. Not enough mental strength and not enough talent to withhold a powerhouse like the Ducks for a complete outing.

Jets management, both GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and owner Mark Chipman were in the house for this one, will have trouble overlooking the way this game ended when evaluating their group and determining whether they need to make some nips and tucks to their core group in the off-season.

The Jets have some good players, but at some point the realization that as a whole they may not be able to move forward together has to sink in. One or two pieces need to be traded to bring in a new vibe in the dressing room and to bolster the leadership group.

Monday night, from this perspective, was definitive proof.


The action

The Jets rode out to a 4-0 lead before letting the Ducks on the board. Winnipeg jumped ahead on first-period goals from Jacob Trouba and Matt Halischuk and then grabbed two more goals in the second frame from Blake Wheeler and Eric Tangradi. Anaheim finally scored late in the second period on a nice play from Nick Bonino, as he put a perfect backhand up high in the only spot goalie Ondrej Pavelec gave him. The Ducks added a power-play goal early in the third period as Ryan Getzlaf popped his 31st of the season. Hampus Lindholm then made it 4-3 with lots of track left in this game. The Ducks then made it 4-4 with just 23 seconds left in the game, as Corey Perry scored with goalie Frederik Andersen on the bench.

Robidas iced it with a blast from just inside the blue-line only 16 seconds into extra time.

New wrinkle

Pavelec, always accessible and candid with the media, tried something different on Monday and put out the word through the Jets communications department that he wouldn't be speaking on game days for a while. The thinking being that he would try to limit distractions prior to a game. Many goalies in the league go this route and one can expect he'll be giving the press the silent treatment on the morning of game days going forward. Hey, if it works, we can ask him all the questions we want after games.


Batman and Robin

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau got desperate during the second period with his team down 4-0, breaking up Getzlaf and Corey Perry for a few shifts to see if he could get something going with his other lines. Once back together, they led the charge that left the Jets wondering what happened.

Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 1, 2014 D3

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


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