The cardiac kids strike again
Down 3-0 to start the third, Jets rally to force overtime
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/11/2016 (2397 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — All right, there’s a lot to unpack here. We’re going to need a sherpa for all this baggage.
But let’s start with the good news: For the third time this season, the Winnipeg Jets rallied from a three-goal third period deficit to force overtime, this time against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center Thursday.
The bad news? Unlike the first two times — in the season opener against Carolina and again in that memorable game against the Toronto Maple Leafs — the Jets went on to lose in OT this time around, falling 4-3 to the Capitals on one of those Alex Ovechkin one-timers from the left faceoff circle that have been the Russian sniper’s meal ticket in this league for a decade.
Still, as overtime losses go, this one felt like a winner. When you’re down 3-0 playing in the third period in the building of last season’s Presidents Trophy winner, a single point is cause for celebration, although there was no convincing Jets head coach Paul Maurice of that.
Ovechkin’s OT winner came with Washington on the power play courtesy of a clumsy Jets line change moments earlier that let to a too-many-men call. Maurice didn’t like the call at the time and shared his views with the on-ice officials, standing on the Jets bench and blasting them in full throat, a vein bulging dangerously on his forehead.
We’ve seen that version of Maurice many times before. But the one that was new came 10 minutes later when he met with reporters outside the Jets dressing room and instead of reining things in — as he usually does — decided to double down instead.
Asked if the too-many-men call in OT was hard to swallow, Maurice was spectacularly blunt.
“It was horses—, so that would be hard to swallow,” Maurice spat.
And with that, there was much clutching of pearls, from St. James to St. Boniface.
Maurice quickly qualified his answer — “I can’t blame the referees for it because the linesman called it” — but I’m not sure that’s going to much matter at the league office, where these sorts of direct critiques of league officiating are viewed dimly and can be expensive for any coaches intemperate enough to share them.
So yeah, there was that too.
And then layered on top of all that was the fact the Jets authored the comeback on a night an already depleted lineup that began the game minus six veterans who were either injured (Bryan Little, Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers, Shawn Matthias, Mark Stuart) or missing (Chris Thorburn, baby) lost two more over the course of the game in Mathieu Perreault (upper body) and Joel Armia (lower body).
Maurice said after the game that he didn’t have an update on either men’s condition, but added an airlift was being contemplated with the Jets back on the ice Friday night in Detroit against the Red Wings and then on Sunday in New York against the Rangers.
So yeah, there was that too.
And then on top of all that, there’s this to contemplate going forward: Thursday marked the ninth time in 11 games the Jets have trailed by two goals or more this season and was also the ninth time in 11 games the Jets have given up three goals or more.
In an NHL in which the league goals-against-average is 2.64, those bloated numbers speak volumes about why a team that has been so good in the third period this season is still just 4-6-1 through 11 games.
Or looked at another way: The Jets have outscored their opponents 17-7 in the third period this season, which would be great if they weren’t first being outscored 16-4 in the second period.
It was the same old story here Thursday night, as Washington scored on Jets netminder Michael Hutchinson on their fourth, seventh and sixteenth shots of the night to take what looked like a 3-0 stranglehold into the third period against the Jets.
Instead, the Jets had the Caps right where they wanted them. Goals from Toby Enstrom (his first of the season); Adam Lowry (his second in two games); and Marko Dano (who was playing his first NHL game this season) sent the game to overtime.
It was a remarkable reprise of Tuesday night’s game at MTS Centre, in which the Jets trailed Washington 2-0 but scored twice in the third period, only to lose 3-2 when the Caps scored the winner with just 30 seconds remaining.
The bottom line on another memorable night: Imagine what this Jets team could accomplish if they played the first two periods like they’ve been playing the third.
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.
Updated on Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:29 PM CDT: resent to web