"Nothing ever comes easy for us." Jets fall 2-1 in shootout
WINNIPEG -- The Jets returned home to Bell MTS Place Tuesday night with the momentum of back-to-back wins in tow, and the New Jersey Devils as their opponent.
Both teams had streaks they wished to continue; the Jets had won four of their last six games and were looking to tie a season-high win streak of three games, while the Devils had collected points in five of their last six games.
The visitors opened the scoring just 4:44 into the game, when Taylor Hall gained the zone and turned a shot from a bad angle into a rebound attempt that Dmitry Kulikov failed to clear, and Nico Hischier deposited passed Connor Hellebuyck.
“It was just a miscommunication,” said Jets’ captain Blake Wheeler of the goal. “I let Hall slip to the net, and I think we had a few too many guys saw their [defenceman] walking into a one-timer. They made a nice play, they had three guys to the net, we had two, and they made a nice play. So that was a small little mistake, ends up in our net. From there I thought, like I said, it was a full on grind.”
Andrew Copp was able to redirect a Josh Morrissey point shot by Mackenzie Blackwood at the 8:38 mark of the second period to tie the game at one.
“Just a good shot by Josh,” said Copp, who had 16:21 minutes of ice time in the game. “I kind of messed up entering the zone, kind of a half turnover there, and then kind of got fortunate that it went right to Josh. I knew he was going to try and get one through, and I’ve been working on tips after practice and whatnot, so good to see that pay off.”
The Jets would fail to find the back of the net again in the game, that included overtime and a shootout. Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine were unsuccessful in their shootout attempts, while Nikita Gusev and Jesper Boqvist both beat Hellebuyck to give New Jersey the 2-1 win.
“Nothing ever comes easy for us,” said Wheeler. “That’s our team. So we’ve got to battle for every inch and just stay in the fight, and stay with it. Obviously there’s been times we haven’t played our best, but for the most part it’s been us fighting through it and trying to salvage a result.”
“I think the game probably played out exactly the way I thought it would,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “They’ve got a good, quick team, and I didn’t think we would have all of our quickness there. I think that was fair. I think nothing was easy in terms of moving the puck, part of that is they play that kind of game, part of it is we were just going to grind this one. It was going to be the way it looked, and it did.”
It was the Jets first shootout loss of the season; they sit fourth in the Central Division with 17 points (8-7-1), and host the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.