By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets lost to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday afternoon at the MTS Centre by a 3-2 margin in the shootout. Here is the games quick hits:
How it happened: Josh Harding was injured for the Minnesota Wild in the pre-game warmup, meaning that Niklas Backstrom — fresh of the injured-reserve — would have to start the game with one practice under his belt. The Jets peppered Backstrom with 14 shots in the first period but had nothing to show for it as the period came to a close scoreless. The Wild emerged in the second period, finding more ways to pressure the Jets, but Winnipeg held their own, thanks to some brilliant play by netminder Ondrej Pavelec and were rewarded for their efforts. Frolik crashed the net hard after a Halischuk blast and got his stick on the rebound to make it 1-0. The Wild struck back early in the third as Nino Niederrieter potted home is fifth goal of the season just 3:21 in. But the Jets would answer and it would be the third line again. Halischuk had his initial shot saved by Backstrom but tucked home his own rebound for the 2-1 lead.
The Jets, who have been prone to letting opponents back into games, didn’t disappoint on Saturday. After some brilliant stick work from Ladd to create a chance, and draw a penalty, the Jets power play went to work. They didn’t show up, however, and Koivu found Parise on a short-handed 3-on-2 for the wild to tie the game. The game ended a tie and after OT solved nothing, the Jets found themselves in their eighth shootout of the season.
Mikku Koivu scored, but Bryan little came up clutch to extend the shootout. But in the fourth round Charlie Coyle made no mistake and put the moves on Pavelec to end the game.
With the win, Ondrej Pavelec picked up his 100th of his career.
What it means: The Jets will head out on their eastern road swing on a losing note, now winless in their last four gamesa.
Jets player of the game: One of either Frolik or Halischuk who had a goal and an assist each. Frolik opened the scoring while Halischuk netted the game-winner for the Jets.
Jets stat of the game: The Jets third line combined for five points and were a combined plus-five on the day.
What is next for the Jets: The Jets now head onto the road for six games starting in New Jersey on Monday. The Jets will need a strong road performance to claw their way back into playoff contention.