It was the same old story, just a different result for the Winnipeg Jets.
Monday night’s, 5-4, loss to the Calgary Flames marked the fourth shootout in five games for the Jets, but the first time they’d fallen short, earning just a single point in the standings for their efforts.
And it came against a team desperate for a win.
Heading in to the game, the Flames had been losers of six straight while the Jets were just one game removed from their season-high four game win streak, which was snapped following Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
For head coach Claude Noel, the game was played out exactly the way the schedule dictated.
“It reminded me of a third game in four nights,” said Noel during his postgame press conference. “I was watching, wondering how it would go and I wasn’t quite sure and I wasn’t settled all night.
“I was uneasy all night in that game. There was no point in that game that I was comfortable. It was very difficult to manage.”
No official comment
The Jets were sloppy in all ends of the ice but it didn’t help much that the officials made a number of questionable calls – and missed calls – throughout the game.
The most damaging for Winnipeg was a missed interference penalty that led to a Flames shorthanded goal in the second period.
Calgary forward Lance Bouma blatantly ran in to Dustin Byfuglien on the Jets blue line and with no whistle, he proceeded to receive a pass before beating Al Montoya to give his team a 2-1 lead.
Later in the game, a 10-minute misconduct penalty was handed to Bryan Little just moments before the game was headed to a shootout, eliminating his eligibility as a shooter.
“I didn’t say anything,” said Little when asked about the incident. “It was the first 10 [minute penalty] I’ve ever gotten where I didn’t say a word. I just kind of shook my head at him when I was going back to the bench and that was it.”
Noel refused to add fuel to the fire, choosing to stay relatively mute on the subject for the fear of facing supplementary discipline from the league.
“What do you want me to tell ya?” said a frustrated Noel. “I don’t have a comment on it because I can’t, so I don’t have a comment.
“We got a point out of it. We need to move forward and go from there. I’m not going to sit here and reassess and reanalyze this particular game. That would not be a wise decision on my part.”
Tough road ahead
Things don’t get easier for the Jets as the Chicago Blackhawks make their way to town Thursday night.
Winnipeg has played the Blackhawks twice this season, losing both games by a combined score of 9-2.
“We know what they bring to the table,” said captain Andrew Ladd. “We’ve played [Chicago] twice and it hasn’t gone very well for us so we know we need to be a lot better against them and there’s a lot less room for error for sure.”
It’s still early in the season but the Jets are at the point now where every point in the standings is crucial; especially against fellow Central Division opponents where they have a miserable record of 3-8-1 so far this year.
Winnipeg sits in second last place in the division, up two points on the Nashville Predators who have three games in hand on the Jets.
Only a single point against a struggling Flames team is a step backwards for a Jets team, which up until Sunday’s loss, was beginning to move forward.
It was evident that the Jets were tired, having played three games in four nights but the game was still up for grabs and it slipped through their fingers.
The Flames got far too many looks from in close, making it very difficult for Montoya to stay comfortable in net.
They managed to salvage a point but when it’s against a team like Calgary, the focus becomes more on the point they missed out on.
First – Dustin Byfuglien, WPG
Byfuglien finished the game with a goal and an assist and played a team-high 28:53 of ice time.
Second – Reto Berra, CGY
The Flames rookie goalie finished the game with 43 saves and stopped six of eight shooters in the shootout to earn his team a much-needed win after dropping their last six.
Third – Olli Jokinen, WPG
Jokinen finished the game with one goal, six shots, and was a plus-1 in 22:19 of ice time against his former team.