October 18, 2018

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Record: 3 – 2 – 1

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Rangers leave Jets in the woods

Visitors down home team 3-1

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/2/2018 (249 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

This might just sum it up perfectly: The Winnipeg Jets scored twice in the opening 66 seconds of their game against the New York Rangers — yet managed to lose 3-1.

Yes, that's the kind of day it was for the local squad, which ran into a goaltender at the top of his game and some tough luck as it dropped a second straight decision at Bell MTS Place for the first time all season.

Two disallowed goals, some poor puck management, a power play that couldn't get anything going and a late-game dagger by the visitors also factored in to the frustrating outcome for the home team. But unlike Friday's 5-2 no-show against St. Louis, there wasn't nearly as much post-game angst after this one.

“You’d like to see one more go in so you can win the game. I think we liked the amount of chances we had, we just weren’t able to put it in," said captain Blake Wheeler.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/2/2018 (249 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

This might just sum it up perfectly: The Winnipeg Jets scored twice in the opening 66 seconds of their game against the New York Rangers — yet managed to lose 3-1.

Yes, that's the kind of day it was for the local squad, which ran into a goaltender at the top of his game and some tough luck as it dropped a second straight decision at Bell MTS Place for the first time all season.

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press</p><p>Winnipeg Jets' Matt Hendricks (15) fights New York Rangers' Cody McLeod (8) during second period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Sunday, February 11, 2018. </p>

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets' Matt Hendricks (15) fights New York Rangers' Cody McLeod (8) during second period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Sunday, February 11, 2018.

Two disallowed goals, some poor puck management, a power play that couldn't get anything going and a late-game dagger by the visitors also factored in to the frustrating outcome for the home team. But unlike Friday's 5-2 no-show against St. Louis, there wasn't nearly as much post-game angst after this one.

"You’d like to see one more go in so you can win the game. I think we liked the amount of chances we had, we just weren’t able to put it in," said captain Blake Wheeler.

Henrik Lundqvist had plenty to say about that, letting in the first official shot of the game and then stopping the next 37 including all 17 that came his way in the third period. Jimmy Vesey scored with 3:53 left in the period to break the tie, and Michael Grabner iced it with an empty-netter in the final minute.

"We like where our game’s at. We’ve been playing too well lately to get down on ourselves, so it’s just a couple games here, a couple bumps. We’re just going to put it behind us and move forward," said forward Mathieu Perreault. "Down the stretch, there’s going to be games that look just like that. Teams fighting for their playoff lives. We’re just going to have to get used to it. Like I said, it’s just two games. We can’t be worried about it. We got to keep our confidence and keep moving forward.

Winnipeg, now 32-15-9 on the season, came out with plenty of jump. Defenceman Tyler Myers fired a blast past Lundqvist just 26 seconds into the game, only to have it called back on a successful New York video challenge which showed Andrew Copp had been offside by a hair.

No matter, as Nikolaj Ehlers put them for real just 40 seconds later. His shot was tipped by New York defenceman Tony DeAngelo and past Lundqvist. Mark Scheifele and Wheeler drew the assists. For Scheifele, it was his first point since returning from injury last game.

The Jets had their skating legs early, drawing an early power play as a result. Scheifele nearly made it 2-0, but Lundqvist slid across to stop his one-timer just in time. They had several other chances to score and were dominating until the late stages.

A bad Ehlers pass was intercepted by Mats Zuccarello, who fired a shot that trickled through Connor Hellebuyck's pads with just 1:06 left.

"The first period we dominated them and then they got that goal at the end and then we gave them an opportunity to come back. We didn’t play the same game any more. After that first one I think we could have been up three, four nothing. We had a lot of chances," said Ehlers, who took full responsibility.

"It was a stupid pass from me trying to make it into the middle there. It’s something that I have to take on me. We let them get back into the game in the second period and they kind of took over a little bit. Stupid mistake," he said.

Coach Paul Maurice was more forgiving following the game.

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press</p><p>Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) crashes into New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) during second period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Sunday, February 11, 2018. </p>

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) crashes into New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) during second period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Sunday, February 11, 2018.

"It’s just a goal. It didn’t happen with two minutes left to go in the game, so there’s lots of hockey to be good after that. (Ehlers) made a pass he shouldn’t make, but we had other guys running routes they don’t need to run that late in the period when you’re playing the way you’re playing. So once that pass was made, there should be coverage. And there wasn’t," said Maurice.

The Rangers nearly took the lead just before intermission, as David Desharnais was sprung on a breakaway. His backhand shot was stopped by Hellebuyck's pad pretty much right on the goal line.

New York seemed inspired by how they ended the frame and came out much stronger in the second. Hellebuyck had to make a great save off Rick Nash, and the Rangers were awarded with three power plays in the period.

Winnipeg survived all three, but were outshot 18-10 in the period.

Forward Cody McLeod levelled Jets defenceman Toby Enstrom with a late hit that sent the Jets defenceman to the locker room with an apparent leg injury. McLeod was given a minor for interference, then was greeted by Matt Hendricks as he exited the penalty box two minutes later.

The pair engaged in a spirited scrap that left both bleeding. Enstrom, meanwhile, returned to action later in the period.

Winnipeg got back-to-back power plays early in the third and had plenty of good chances, including Wheeler and Patrik Laine both being robbed by Lundqvist. But they couldn't convert, going 0-for-4 on the day with the man advantage. The Jets power play, which has been stellar at times this season, is now just three-for-21 in the first six games of their 10-game homestand.

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press</p><p>Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers (27) celebrates after scoring against the New York Rangers during first period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Sunday, February 11, 2018. </p>

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers (27) celebrates after scoring against the New York Rangers during first period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Sunday, February 11, 2018.

"Maybe teams are starting to pre-scout us. We’ve had so much success, now they’re taking away some of our options, so we might have to re-look at it and refocus and maybe bear down on it a little bit more," said Perreault.

Zuccarello came close midway through the third, hitting the post with his team on the power play. Then came the late winner by Vesey. Defenceman Brady Skjei fired a shot which hit Vesey's body and went past Hellebuyck.

Scheifele appeared to tie it with 1:22 left, but officials ruled he used a high-stick to deflect the puck past Lundqvist. Video review confirmed it was the correct call. That would be as close as Winnipeg got, as Grabner scored into an empty-net with 43 seconds left.

"First and third (periods) were really strong. To come away even out of two, you gotta think you’re in a pretty good spot. Our guy made some saves, though. He didn’t have the volume, but he had to make some saves. Lundqvist made some pretty good saves," said Maurice.

The Jets were facing a shorthanded New York squad missing three big pieces on their blue line due to injury in Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk and Marc Staal.

"I don’t think we’re in a hole. We’re still playing good. We just have to figure out a way to be consistent and play good for a full 60 and work hard. We’re still playing really good, we just have to figure out a way to get those two points," said Ehlers.

Winnipeg returns to action Tuesday night as they host the Washington Capitals.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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History

Updated on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 6:33 PM CST: Writethru

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