By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
You could blame it on the morning puck drop but the Philadelphia Flyers looked no worse for wear as they downed the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 at the Wells Fargo Centre on Friday.
Sloppy defensive play and puck management to start the game gave the Flyers the lead just 48 seconds into the game, a Scott Hartnell goal that set the tone for the rest of the period and arguably the game.
The Jets put just two shots on goal in the first period as they struggled to even break into the Flyers zone for a large part of the period. Penalties plagued the Jets in the first period, as well, as Olli Jokinen took back-to-back calls before Enstrom and Setoguchi found themselves in the sin bin as well. The Jets penalty kill did well to kill off all four penalties in the first and a two man-advantage to start the second.
“Was it an early morning game? I don’t know, that would be a poor excuse,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel after the loss.
But as good as the Jets penalty kill was, the power play was equally as bad.
At the 5:36 mark of the second the Flyers struck again. Sean Couturier took a breakaway, his second of the game, in on Ondrej Pavelec, made a deke and slipped the puck through the legs of the Jets netminder. The goal was on the Jets’ power play. The Jets gave up their fifth short-handed marker of the season and now take over sole possession of an unenviable category.
“Obviously, we have to figure out a few things,” Mark Scheifele told reporters after the game.
The Jets, who have just 11 power play goals on the season, fell to just six net goals on special teams after giving up their fifth short-handed one.
A big problem for the Jets this season has been their urgency, and lack thereof. The line of Matt Halischuk, Michael Frolik and Mark Scheifele has been solid since forming a few weeks ago and struck again in this game late in the third. Frolik picked up the puck after some hard work from Scheifele and fired home his seventh of the season. Scheifele extended his points streak to four games with the assist and now has one goal and three assists over that period.
The Jets play seemed to regress after the Frolik goal, however, and with time winding down — and the Jets’ net empty — found themselves protecting the vacancy rather than attacking the Flyers’ net manned by Steve Mason.
Time expired and the Jets lost their first game of their six-game road trip.
“There has to be a point here where the players have to get engaged among themselves,” said Noel who added “we just weren’t good enough, we didn’t play well enough to win.”
To further the Jets issues, Evander Kane picked up a lower-body injury in the loss. Noel gave no indication of the severity after the game on Kane’s injury which happened in the first period. Kane played one shift in the second before heading back to the dressing room and didn’t return.