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This article was published 31/1/2015 (2220 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
That sound you hear is the air coming out of the once-high-flying Winnipeg Jets.
A Jets team that headed into last weekend’s NHL all-star break as the hottest in the league, riding a 5-0-1 record, is 0-3 since returning from the break and riding their second-longest losing streak of the season.
An undisciplined Jets team lost their third straight game Saturday night at the MTS Centre, falling 5-2 to a Dallas Stars team that made the Jets pay dearly for their trips to the penalty box.
Dallas finished the night a mind-numbing 4-for-8 on the power play to put Winnipeg on a losing skid the likes of which fans haven’t seen in these parts since the first two weeks of the season, when the Jets lost four of their first five games.
The Jets will head out for a two-game road trip through Western Canada beginning Monday in Calgary, trailing more questions than answers in their wake and leaving a fan base wondering what happened to a team that barely a week ago was almost unbeatable.
One hint? A once-vaunted Jets’ penalty-killing unit has surrendered seven goals in 13 opportunities since returning from the break.
"The penalty kill has been great all year and tonight we just couldn’t get it done," said Jets forward Mathieu Perreault.
"We’re going to have to be more disciplined, especially against a team like that. They have a good power play and a lot of great players on it...
"It’s going to be us in the room here who have to get it together and do it right."
The loss to Dallas came on the same day Jets head coach Paul Maurice shook up his lineup, switching the personnel on two of his three defensive pairings and abandoning — at least for this night — his goalie rotation, electing to give Michael Hutchinson his second consecutive start.
But if Maurice’s hope was more Hutchinson and new defensive pairings of Dustin Byfuglien with Toby Enstrom and Zach Bogosian with Ben Chiarot would reignite the pilot light, he learned by night’s end it wouldn’t be quite so simple.
While Maurice insisted again he doesn’t think this team is that far from regaining their winning form, he also seemed to realize Saturday was not the night to tell Jets fans everything is fine.
"I want to be careful about trying to sell the positives all the time," he said.
"We’ve lost three in a row, so we have to deal with that. We haven’t played particularly well."
Bogosian had a memorable game Saturday — for all the wrong reasons.
The defenceman took a ridiculous and flagrant slashing penalty at 12:07 of the first period that earned the ire of his head coach, who promptly sat Bogosian down for the rest of the opening frame and the first half of the second period.
After Bogosian finally got back on the ice midway through the second period, he promptly took another slashing penalty in his first shift back.
The second one was a costly one as the Stars Shaun Horcoff promptly scored on the ensuing power play to put the Stars up for good at 2-1.
Asked why he sat Bogosian after his first slashing penalty, Maurice was succint. "That," he replied, "was a bad penalty."
Jets forward Matt Halischuk is gone and he’s not coming back any time soon.
A day after the Jets put Halischuk on injured reserve, Maurice revealed Saturday the Jets winger has a lower-body injury that is going to cause him to miss significant time.
"Matt’s going to be out for awhile — lower-body injury... It’s beyond even week-to-week," Maurice told reporters.
With Halischuk out of the lineup, the Jets carried just 12 forwards into Saturday night’s contest.
T.J. Galiardi, who was assigned to St. John’s and then quickly recalled on Friday, took Halischuk’s spot on the fourth line Saturday night.
On the road again
The Jets now head west for a two-game road swing that will see them play the Calgary Flames Monday night and the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night.
The Jets are just 4-6-2 against the Pacific Division this season, making them the only team in the Central Division this season with a losing record against the Pacific.
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.