Jets looking for answers to third-period problems

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Blake Wheeler rarely puts a filter on how he sees any given night in an NHL arena.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/04/2015 (2780 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Blake Wheeler rarely puts a filter on how he sees any given night in an NHL arena.

‘Incredulous’ would be the best word to describe the Winnipeg Jets right-winger on Monday night after the Jets dropped a 5-4 overtime victory ot the Anaheim Ducks at the MTS Centre, giving the Ducks a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

“You’ve got to win four games,” Wheeler said. “We’ve won four in a row before. The first one’s going to be the hardest one, apparently.

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd (16) falls into Anaheim Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) as he's pushed by Hampus Lindholm (47).

“So just lick our wounds tonight. It’s going to hurt obviously, and the sun’s going to rise tomorrow and we have to refocus for Game 4.”

Wheeler scored his first goal of the series, putting the Jets ahead 3-2 in the second period.

“Yeah, it’s hard,” he said about Rickard Rakell’s deflected winner at 5:12 of the extra period. “It’ just more of the same. We lead the whole damn series and we’re 0-3. That’s the way it goes. That’s hockey. We just have to find a way to get that first one.”

Wheeler was asked what his team might still do better in this series, one in which it has led all three games going to the third period.

“Don’t allow them to score,” he said. “If we had a better answer, it would probably be 3-0 right now. We don’t have the right answer right now.”

Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec battled all night long but could not stop Rakell’s tip of Francois Beauchemin’s point shot.

“We have to figure it out,” Pavelec said. “This entire time this happens in the third period. I don’t know. We have to find out.

“I think we played well. I think we have a better team tonight. I think we just (have to) give it to them. We played well in the third period, but you guys can see what happened. It’s a really disappointing loss, that’s for sure.”

The Jets can only focus now on finding something that will create one win, Wheeler said.

“That’s just it,” Wheeler said. “The first one appears to be the toughest one. If we can get some momentum on our side, and a little bit of confidence on closing out, you never know. You’ve got to make them win four games and we’re sure as hell not going to go down easy.”

Jets rookie centre Adam Lowry saw several ins for the Jets to think they could start finding some momentum.

“That’s obviously another tough loss, going into the third period for the third time with the lead,” Lowry said. “I think we know we can play with these guys. We have a great group of guys in here and nobody’s going to quit. It’s going to be a starting point. We’ll review this game tomorrow then try to move on and get ready for Game 4.

“I think our power play started to generate some chances and that’s a good start for creating some momentum. We were able to get some goals as opposed to the first two games when we hadn’t created a lot of offence. Those are positives we can take.”

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

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