By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG – It wasn’t the reaction Claude Noel was looking for after the Winnipeg Jets lost to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. The Jets started slow again Friday and this time there was no coming back.
Three first period goals by the Dallas Stars proved to be more than enough for the team from the Lone Star State. Tyler Seguin potted a goal and added two assists in the first frame and netted a second goal in the second period to round off his four point, first star night.
Noel lamented his teams’ first period in his post-game press conference.
“I thought we made some mistakes in the first period and obviously we can’t make those kinds of mistakes and expect that our goaltending is going to save us like in the previous games,” said Noel. “I thought that the mistakes we made were correctable mistakes where we should have been smarter, we should have been better in those areas.”
Noel said that he thought there was more energy out there from his players on Friday, but it wasn’t enough.
“I think that the last half of the game….to me we played with a lot more energy tonight,” Noel said. “Whether that was the changing of the lines…I thought there was a lot more things we can build upon in this game and move forward. We played the game with a lot more vim and vigor, a lot more emotion in the game.
Even with the positives, Noel did admit one thing: “I don’t think anyone cared for the result or how it went.”
The Jets were convincing in the faceoff circle after having just a 26 percent success rate the night before. Bryan Little was the most improved and the reason the Jets posted a much better 63 percent Friday winning 18 of his 24 draws.
Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec wasn’t convinced that the faceoff issues were the problem, however, as he lamented his own play on the night.
“If you win the faceoff’s it still doesn’t mean you are going to win the game,” said Pavelec. “It was one of the reasons; it just wasn’t one of the biggest reasons why we lost the game.
“I didn’t play well tonight and that is the first thing. It wasn’t strong, the rebound control wasn’t there. I was trying to battle through the game. It was 4-0; it is tough to do something against a team like that.”
A reoccurring theme with the Jets this season has been the absence of putting together three periods of hockey, something Zach Bogosian alluded to after the game.
“When you start coming on at the end of the game, the first 40 minutes don’t mean anything anyways,” said Bogosian. “We have to make sure we are working hard all 60 minutes, we can say what we want but we have to have a better effort for a full three periods.”
Bogosian couldn’t offer up any one reason for the Jets struggles in the effort department.
“It is kind of hard to pinpoint one certain thing, but that is how you have to win games; with a full team effort,” Bogosian said. “We are going to have a lot of long nights if we don’t straighten that out.”
Pavelec agreed with his defenseman, citing that the Jets have no choice but to dig themselves out of this rut.
“We have to battle through, we have no choice,” added Pavelec. “We are in the hole right now and we have to find a way to get out.”
The Jets take on the New Jersey Devils at the MTS Centre and the early word is that Al Montoya will relieve Pavelec after five straight starts from the Czech-born netminder. Game time on Sunday is 7 p.m.