THE BIG PICTURE
A glorious opportunity spoiled by the Jets. The home side carried a 3-2 lead into the third period and then completely abandoned Ondrej Pavelec and surrendered two goals in the final 10 minutes in a 4-3 loss that stings big time. What hurts is this: The Washington Capitals fell 5-2 in Chicago and the Jets missed a chance to pull into an eighth-place tie in the Eastern Conference.
The Jets now exit for games this week in Pittsburgh, Washington and Nashville knowing they'll need to find some mojo on the road in order to keep their playoff pulse beating. Given the opponents, that's no easy task.
The Jets have their top line out for a face off in the offensive zone, but the play goes the other way with Chad LaRose beating Pavelec for the winner. And -- POOF! -- just like a potential spirited send-off for the Jets lost its oomph.
FREE PRESS 3 STARS
1. Eric Staal, F, Car. -- Scored his 20th and played with some fire in his belly and was clearly the best of the visitors.
2. Antti Miettinen, RW, Wpg. -- Scored twice for the Jets, his first two of the season, and would have played the hero if not for the third-period collapse.
3. Cam Ward, G, Car. -- Made the big saves when he had to in helping the Canes improve to .500.
1. Carolina, Jokinen 11, 7:41 (sh) 2. Winnipeg, Antropov 13 (Stapleton, Stuart) 11:41 Penalties — Jokinen Car (slashing) 4:08, Joslin Car (cross-checking) 7:30, Allen Car (boarding) 8:05, Wheeler Wpg (hooking) 12:12, Burmistrov Wpg (boarding) 13:07, Kane Wpg (tripping) 17:49.
3. Carolina, Staal 20 (Brent, Tlusty) 5:46 (pp) 4. Winnipeg, Miettinen 1 (Kane, Enstrom) 10:29 (pp) 5. Winnipeg, Miettinen 2 (Machacek) 18:54 Penalties — Stuart Wpg (interference) 5:21, Dwyer Car (highsticking, fighting), Machacek Wpg (roughing, fighting) 6:09, Tlusty Car (hooking) 8:29, Bogosian Wpg (charging, game misconduct; served by Wellwood) 10:41, Ruutu Car (interference) 14:25.
6. Carolina, Staal 21 (Jokinen) 10:24 7. Carolina, LaRose 17 (Staal, Jokinen) 18:38 Penalties — None.
Shots on goal by Carolina7 9 19 — 35 Winnipeg 12 7 14 — 33 Goal — Carolina: Ward (W,26-21-12); Winnipeg: Pavelec (L,27-24-7).
Power plays (goals-chances) — Carolina: 1-5; Winnipeg: 0-5.
Referee — Dean Morton, Chris Rooney. Linesmen — Mark Wheler, Derek Nansen.
Attendance — 15,004 (15,004).
The Jets now embark on three-game road trip that begins Tuesday in Pittsburgh (6 p.m. TSN-Jets/TSN Sports Radio) followed games Friday in Washington and Saturday in Nashville.