Jets can’t break losing streak, falling 3-2 to Canucks in OT

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VANCOUVER — Their lineup was in upheaval due to a mysterious game-time “coaches decision” to scratch forward Evander Kane.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/02/2015 (2867 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

VANCOUVER — Their lineup was in upheaval due to a mysterious game-time “coaches decision” to scratch forward Evander Kane.

They took way too many undisciplined penalties — again — and were short-handed way too often — again.

And for the longest time on this night, the Jets — as has been their plight of late — couldn’t buy a break, watching an Adam Lowry second period goal disallowed due to goalie contact and a laser off the stick of forward Michael Frolik rattle off the post later the same period.

Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa (5) tries to clear Winnipeg Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba (8) from in front of Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack (31) during the second period of NHL action in Vancouver Tuesday.

Add to that a pair of squandered leads — 1-0 and 2-1, the latter midway through the third period — and the hockey gods seemed to be lined up against the Jets Tuesday night.

And aligned they were, as Canucks defenceman Luca Sbisa took a pass from forward Radim Vrbata and buried the puck behind Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec just 36 seconds into overtime to give the Canucks a 3-2 overtime victory.

The loss extends a four-game Jets losing streak to five games, although with the qualifier this time that at least the loss came in overtime and for the first time in five games the Jets at least picked up at a point.

It’s not much, but it’s something to build on for the Jets as they head into a tough stretch that will see them play Central Division rivals their next four games.

And speaking of something positive to build on, Pavelec was sensational at times in what was his first start since Jan. 27, keeping his team in the game during an early Canucks onslaught and by night’s end turning away 30 of 33 shots.

 

What About Kane?

The news that Kane was a healthy scratch didn’t break until he was a no-show in the Jets warmup just prior to game time.

Head coach Paul Maurice gave no indication during a media availability two-and-a-half hours before game time that he intended to sit Kane. And the news also apparently came as a surprise to Kane too. The Jets didn’t skate in Vancouver on Tuesday, but did have an optional workout, and Kane was in attendance at Rogers Arena, telling reporters afterward: “I definitely enjoy playing here. I’m looking forward to tonight’s game.”

Vancouver is Kane’s hometown and last night’s game was the first time the Jets played here this season.

A Jets spokesman termed the decision to sit Kane out last night a “coaches decision.” And it’s not the first time Jets coaches have decided to bench Kane.

Maurice benched Kane Apr. 5, 2014 for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Neither Kane or Maurice ever did disclose the reason for the Jets forward being benched that night, although Maurice did refer cryptically at the time to “club policies.”

And former Jets coach Claude Noel also made Kane a healthy scratch on Nov. 6, 2013 in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

With the Jets carrying just 12 forwards on this trip, Maurice’s decision to sit Kane last night set off a domino effect through the Jets lineup that saw Dustin Byfuglien — a Jets all-star on defence this season — move back up to forward and on to a line with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault.

That move in turn saw Michael Frolik move on to Kane’s line with Adam Lowry and Chris Thorburn. And then to replace Byfuglien on defence, the Jets inserted Adam Pardy into the lineup for the first time in 12 games.

 

It Doesn’t Get Any Easier From Here…

The Jets returned home immediately following last night’s game and will now embark on a homestand that will see them take on three Central Division rivals in succession, beginning with the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

The Colorado Avalanche will be visitors to the MTS Centre on Sunday, followed by the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Both the Avalanche and Wild are trailing the Jets in the Central Division, but both teams have two games in hand on Winnipeg and have made up ground during the Jets losing skid.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Paul Wiecek

Paul Wiecek
Reporter (retired)

Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.

History

Updated on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 9:43 PM CST: Updates score.

Updated on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 10:47 PM CST: Updates score, photo.

Updated on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 11:42 PM CST: Updates score.

Updated on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 11:52 PM CST: CP write-thru, adds slideshow.

Updated on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 12:02 AM CST: Local write-thru.

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