By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Losers of three straight games at the MTS Centre this week, the Winnipeg Jets are in a bit of a funk right now. The problem is, with the season on its last legs, if they don’t turn around their fortunes quickly that slip is going to turn into an uncontrollable slide.
“You got to put these games behind us,” said Bryan Little, who scored his 20th goal of the season in the Jets 5-3 loss to Ottawa. “The last three games haven’t been fun but we have to try and find a way. There aren’t many games left, we have to find a way to get back into the win column; get that confidence back.”
Their most recent loss on Saturday afternoon produced a better effort than their previous — a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings that was anything but close. The Jets racked up 22 shots in the third period but it was a case of too little, too late.
“It was just one of those games, it was kind of back and forth,” Little said. “We had our chances and made mistakes and probably gave them too much and they took advantage of it. We tried to battle back and had a really good third period but it was too big of a gap.”
The Jets came into the game having scored just twice on their previous 16 power play opportunities, a total they matched in seven attempts against the Senators. The problem? They allowed two against on just four Senator power plays after coming into the night allowing just one marker against in their last 15 on the penalty kill — a bright spot statistically for the team, holding the fourth-best ranking among NHL teams with an 84.5 percent success rate coming into the contest.
“We never want to give up power play goals like the way we did,” said Mark Stuart, who by his own admission had a “tough” night. “Our penalty kill has been good for us and we need to count on it every night and it wasn’t quite there.”
Stuart insisted that the mood around the dressing room is still good.
“We are still confident,” said Stuart. “Of course, it isn’t quite the week we wanted but we have to move on here and continue to push. We know we haven’t played quite out best but we know that it’s there.
“I am not calling it a lull.”
For Paul Maurice, the three-game skid is a first for him as the head coach of the Jets who dropped to 11-5-2 under his guidance.
“We have a real strong belief of how the game is going to be played here as this team grows and matures,” explained Maurice. “We are going to work really hard to staying on that.”