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This article was published 7/1/2017 (1510 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BUFFALO — Eight times this NHL season, the Winnipeg Jets have been in a position where they’ve won consecutive games. All eight times, they’ve been unable to earn a third victory in a row.
The latest setback came Saturday afternoon, with the Jets heading into a tilt with the Buffalo Sabres after wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.
Despite holding a 3-1 edge heading into the third period, the Jets succumbed to a late rally by the Sabres, who scored three unanswered goals to win 4-3.
"I mean, two wins," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler after the game. "We’ve got to put together more than two in a row."
On the surface, winning three consecutive games appears to be an easy task.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, who finished last in the Eastern Conference last season, just had their win string cut at 16 — one fewer than the NHL record of 17 set by the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2003-04 season.
The Philadelphia Flyers won a stretch of 10 games in a row in late November-early December. The Vancouver Canucks, who had an awful start to the season, were winners of seven straight heading into Saturday’s games.
The Jets, however, have struggled at length to put together a decent run.
The last time they won more than two games in a row was at the end of last season, when they won the final four games of the campaign.
Early in December — after a weekend road trip that resulted in victories over tough Central Division teams the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks — the Jets returned home to lose to a struggling Detroit Red Wings squad in a shootout. The loss was the first of four in a row for Winnipeg.
The Jets are one of just three teams this season, including the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche, who have yet to win three consecutive games.
It’s not exactly great company. Heading into weekend play, the Coyotes and Avs had combined for just 24 wins in 78 games.
Thursday, Jets head coach Paul Maurice was asked whether he is concerned his team hasn’t been able to string together a decent stretch.
Maurice deflected the question, saying he doesn’t talk to his players about the standings: he prefers to focus on the upcoming game, rather than those already played.
"(Winning) two out of three (games) for the rest (of the season) would be fine," he said.
Saturday’s loss was particularly disappointing, given the Jets (19-20-3)held the lead late.
"It’s just unfortunate, especially the way that we played the game. We definitely felt we were in control for the majority of the game," said Jets forward Drew Stafford.
"We weren’t able to hang on, which would have been nice for us to finish off the road trip with an extra two points. We’ll take what we can from this.
"We had a great trip down to Florida, a lot of positive things down there."
email@example.com Twitter: @jeffkhamilton
After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.