Small mistakes costly for Jets in 4-2 loss to Bruins
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/03/2022 (258 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Small mistakes get magnified during the dog days of the NHL season, as illustrated Friday night at Canada Life Centre.
Under pressure, Winnipeg defenceman Brenden Dillon inadvertently flipped the puck over the glass in the Jets end, handing the Boston Bruins a power-play opportunity with just over five minutes left in regulation time.
Taylor Hall banged in his 13th goal of the season less than a minute later, sparking the Bruins to an eventual 4-2 triumph before a crowd of 14,191 — a sizeable chunk wearing Boston duds.
“It’s frustrating,” said Jets centre Adam Lowry. “It’s in the rulebook and the puck rolls up on you, there’s not a lot you can do. It would have been nice for us to be able to get the kill for (Dillon). Unfortunately, that was the difference.”
The Jets had scored a pair of goals earlier in the third period to even the game 2-2.
Down a goal, interim head coach Dave Lowry pulled goalie Connor Hellebuyck in favour of an extra attacker, however, Josh Morrissey was tripped in Bruins territory — no call was made — and Charlie McAvoy scored an empty-netter.
Winnipeg dropped to 28-24-10 and has just 20 games left to leap three opponents and qualify for the NHL post-season.
Hellebuyck was sensational, stopping 41 shots.
Lost and unaccounted for in the second period, the Jets emerged from the clouds in the final period to give the Bruins fits.
Lowry’s deflection of an Evgeny Svechnikov shot 2:29 into the third injected life into the team. Dillon made a wise move to shake off a check at the point and give the puck to Svechnikov, who toe-dragged into the slot.
Lowry’s goal was his 10th of the season, and sixth in just 11 games.
Nikolaj Ehlers showed once again his finest work is always accomplished with speed. He raced down the right side on a rush with Kyle Connor, took a pass and rifled a low shot behind Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark that evened the contest 2-2 at 3:54 of the final period.
Ehlers was hauled down on a breakaway earlier in the game by Mike Reilly and took a plodding approach on a failed penalty shot try, a decision he later said he regretted.
“I haven’t taken a penalty shot in five or six years. You try different things. Five-hole, I’ve been pretty lucky with those in my career, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I was too slow in my movement before the shot,” he said.
The Jets penalty killers erased an interference minor to Logan Stanley but surrendered a power-play tally to Hall at 15:13 with Dillon in the box.
The Jets were 0-for-5 on the power play.
Winnipeg has been on the losing end of four consecutive games to Boston, dating back to March 15, 2019, but there was nothing wrong with the Jets takeoff. Copp was presented with a brilliant chance on the game’s second shift – after some sweet passing by linemates Svechnikov and Adam Lowry — but was stopped on the doorstep by Ullmark.
Hellebuyck’s finest stop of the first period came with just over four minutes left as he slid across to block a David Pastrnak drive with the shaft of his stick.
Pastrnak’s 500th NHL game looked to be cut short when he headed to the dressing room in obvious discomfort late in the period, grabbing his right side after he stepped on the puck and slipped awkwardly.
But the Bruins’ leader in goals (33) returned after the first intermission.
Dillon nearly gained hero status among his NHL brethren, but administered only a glancing blow when he had ultra-pest Brad Marchand in the trolley tracks.
The Jets would rue not finishing on their opportunties in a scoreless first period. The Bruins came out locked and loaded in the second, outshooting Winnipeg 15-0 and building a 2-0 lead before Jets captain Blake Wheeler finally tested Ullmark at the 12:36 mark after a burst of speed to break free.
The game’s opening goal was one for the highlight reel, and not because of Marchand’s simple tap. The diminutive winger fed a shin-high pass to Jake DeBrusk, who went down on one knee to corral the pass, lacrosse style, and then immediately flipped it back to Marchand for his 25th at the 4:42 mark.
Trent Frederic scored his fifth on a wraparound less than three minutes later after Charlie Coyle shook off a pair of Jets before dishing off the puck.
“They stay above you, they forecheck hard, they make smart plays in the neutral zone. I think that’s been the story a little too often for us,” said Adam Lowry. “You know, we turn pucks over at lines. We’re not direct, and we played pretty slow I think. We kind of fed into their game. You spot a team like the Bruins a two goal lead and it’s tough to come back. Fortunately for us, Helly kind of held us in the game, gave us a chance to come back in the third period.”
Coyle finished with three assists for the Bruins, while Ullmark made 27 stops.
The Jets are four points back of the Vegas Golden Knights for the final wild-card position in the Western Conference, but the Dallas Stars are in decent shape between them, a point back of Vegas and also three up on the Jets (with three games in hand), while the Vancouver Canucks are also currently slotted between Winnipeg and Vegas.
The Bruins, now 38-19-5, are fourth in the Atlantic Division but own the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Jets practise Saturday and then leave for a trip to Chicago. Their Sunday evening matchup with the Blackhawks is scheduled for 6 p.m. at United Center.
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).
Updated on Saturday, March 19, 2022 9:13 AM CDT: Minor copy edit