By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets lost some steam in the hunt for the playoffs, falling 3-2 in overtime to a depleted New York Islanders team on Tuesday night at the MTS Centre.
How it happened: Not the greatest of starts for the Jets even if they were up a goal just over half way through the first period. Bryan Little won a faceoff, got the puck and found Andrew Ladd who did a little bobble with it and then gained control to notch his 16th of the season. The Islanders, who pressured the Jets all period, were able to tie the game on Colin McDonald’s fifth of the season at the 17:38 mark after some sloppy, all-around play by the Jets. The period also featured two scraps, one involving Chris Thorburn and the other, Mark Stuart.
The Islanders picked up right where they left off in the second frame. Anders Lee found himself on a clean break after a nice feed from Michael Grabner. Pavelec made the initial save on Lee but the puck went up in the air where Lee tipped it behind the Jets No. 1. The play was reviewed due to the high stick but the goal stood giving the visitors a 2-1 lead.
A scary incident also occurred in the second when Calvin de Haan went knee-on-knee with Mark Scheifele. Scheifele squirmed around on the ice in obvious discomfort, favouring his right knee. Scheifele was helped off the ice and was seen putting weight on the injured leg.
The third period started with no sign of Scheifele on the bench, he would not return to the game. The Islanders stymied the Jets at every corner in the third, like they did 99 percent of the night. The Jets had plenty of shots, but Islander’s third-stringer Anders Nilsson stood tall in the crease, mostly.
Captain Andrew Ladd wasn’t finished on the scoresheet, and with 5:07 left in the game, found himself on a clean break on a slick pass from Olli Jokinen. After a juke and a jive, Ladd lifted the shot over Nilsson’s right shoulder and into the top corner. Tie game.
Overtime ensued. The Jets and Islanders exchanged chances before ex-Manitoba Moose Michael Grabner exploded by defence and scored on another breakaway.
Shots: 38-27 Jets
What it means: It is just the fourth loss for the Jets under Paul Maurice, but this one was particularly notable for the poor defensive effort from the Jets who were unable to take advantage of a depleted Islanders team and their third-string goaltender. Fortunately for the Jets, the Dallas Stars dropped a 4-2 decision to Columbus. Nashville was in action as was Vancouver, both games were ongoing. The Jets picked up one point in the loss.
Jets player of the game: Andrew Ladd. Ladd scored his 16th and 17th goals on Tuesday night including the game tying goal that sent the contest into overtime.
Jets stat of the game: The Jets have now had 36 games decided by one goal tying them for second in the league with Calgary, one behind the New Jersey Devils. They are now 17-12-6 in those games.
What is next for the Jets: The Winnipeg Jets will practice Wednesday morning at the MTS IcePlex before playing their next game on Thursday night at the MTS Centre against the Los Angeles Kings.