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Sens' power play better

That was the biggest difference between the teams on Saturday

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TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Ottawa�s Jared Cowen (left) and Winnipeg�s Anthony Peluso engage in second-period fisticuffs.

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TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Ottawa�s Jared Cowen (left) and Winnipeg�s Anthony Peluso engage in second-period fisticuffs.

The eye of the beholder will have to determine just which team gained the true edge with special teams in the Ottawa Senators' 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon at the MTS Centre. The Sens scored twice on four advantages.

The Jets also had two power-play goals, but needed seven chances to get them.

And that probably had some bearing on the outcome.

What the Jets left on the table turned out to be more important than the chances they cashed.

Winnipeg had an early-game five-on-three for 70 seconds, but it yielded nothing.

And then the Sens' second power-play goal, rookie Mike Hoffman's first NHL marker, was a kind of back-breaker, making it 5-2 for the visitors and chasing Jets starter Ondrej Pavelec from the game.

From there, Winnipeg had two power plays later in the second period thanks to retaliations by Zack Smith and Matt Kassian, then another in the third period, but wasted all three.

"You never want to give up the (two) power-play goals like we did," defenceman Mark Stuart said. "Our penalty kill's been good for us and we need to count on it every night and it wasn't quite there tonight.

"Our power play, I thought, generated a lot for us, though."

It's the first time under coach Paul Maurice the Jets have given up more than one power-play goal in a game, a streak that goes back to Dec. 23.

On the other side of the coin, Winnipeg had generated just two power-play goals in its last 11 games, so collecting two goals in one day is progress.

"We had 17 shots on our power play tonight, scored two goals," said Maurice. "So there's the template for what we're trying to do. We can get it to the net and do good things there."

Jets centre Bryan Little was liking that silver lining, at least.

"There were times we looked really good out there on the power play," said Little, who scored the first power-play goal to get the Jets even briefly in the first period. "It's been a while since we've had a couple of goals in a game.

"There were other opportunities. It would have been nice to get one on that five-on-three. That might have changed the momentum a bit.

"But a couple of power-play goals is huge for us."

In the end, another defeat this week must be forgotten, Little said.

"We tried to battle back in the third, had a really good third but that's too much of a gap," Little said. "We try to forget about it. You have to put these games behind us. These last few games haven't been fun but we've got to try to find a way. There aren't many games left. We have to try to get back in the win column and get that confidence back."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2014 B2

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