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Sports Jets' swoon continues against Canucks

18:31  11 may  2021
18:31  11 may  2021 Source:   winnipegsun.com

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Two straight games against NHL bottom-feeders, two straight nights of going home with their tails between their legs.

a hockey game in the snow: Jets forward Jansen Harkins (12) jostles for position with Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers (57) during the second period at Bell MTS Place on Monday.  © Provided by Winnipeg Sun Jets forward Jansen Harkins (12) jostles for position with Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers (57) during the second period at Bell MTS Place on Monday.

If the Winnipeg Jets wanted to right their ship before the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they’ve got a funny way of showing it.

Saturday it was the Ottawa Senators, Monday the Vancouver Canucks. Both at home. Both against teams with inferior talent, playing out the string.

Both losses.

Going into Monday’s game against the Canucks, with a playoff spot locked up, the Jets were hoping to find a way to generate some emotion.

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The futility – nine losses in their last 10 games – appears to have caught up to them.

“Just kind of blah,” is how captain Blake Wheeler described the 3-1 loss. “We were just kind of out there. Certainly it’s not going our way, the bounces aren’t going our way. Nothing’s coming easy for us. We just give up such big chances, it’s just tough to bounce back from.”

a hockey game in the snow:  Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) jostles for position with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers (57) during the third period at Bell MTS Place. Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports © Terrence Lee Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) jostles for position with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers (57) during the third period at Bell MTS Place. Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets actually did show some want-to, but it only came in spurts.

One of the best was in the third, when they seemed determined to erase a 2-1 deficit and get back on track with the playoffs right around the corner.

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But it wasn’t enough to overcome a leaky start.

Midway through the third they gave up a two-on-one break on one of those defensive breakdowns we’re so accustomed to seeing and the Canucks’ lead was two.

When Kyle Connor couldn’t capitalize on a breakaway or the rebound chance with some eight minutes to go, their fate was sealed.

“When you go through a stretch like we’re going through right now it’s very frustrating,” Wheeler said. “I just don’t have a whole ton of great adjectives to use to describe our performance. I still think we have a good vibe in our room and a lot to look forward to. But we are certainly having a hard time, here, closing out the season.”

Not that the Jets quit. They kept pouring it on in the third.

But goals, and wins, have been hard to come by for a while now. The finish is gone, along with the confidence. And the timing couldn’t be worse.

a hockey game in the snow:  Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor (81) battles Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (53) for the puck during the third period at Bell MTS Place. Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports © Terrence Lee Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor (81) battles Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (53) for the puck during the third period at Bell MTS Place. Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“The offensive part of our game at least looked right until the goalie stopped the puck,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “We’ve played some games where I didn’t think we generated nearly as much as I hoped to… and we had some pretty good looks. So there’s a starting point there.”

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With a stone-cold power play, this team has scored just 17 goals in its last 10 games.

And home ice seems to have become a distinct disadvantage, an 11-13-2 mark the cold, hard evidence.

The biggest source of Monday’s frustration was Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko, who stopped 39 of 40 shots.

“Unfortunately we’ve gotten fairly used to it recently,” Wheeler said. “It’s kind of how it’s going for us. Don’t really have the magic formula for it right now. Certainly a ton of frustration.”

The Jets would like to bottle their start and pour it down the drain: they were down by two just 7:21 in.

On the first goal, rookie Ville Heinola tried too nifty a back-pass while crisscrossing with Josh Morrissey at the Vancouver blue line, sending Nils Hoglander in on a breakaway.

Hoglander beat Laurent Brossoit on a rebound and Heinola made the skate of shame to the bench.

Heinola and Morrissey were on the ice for the second goal, too, the Canucks winning a race for a loose puck and Bo Horvat left alone in front to cash in.

The Jets got one of those back before the first period was up, Connor scoring for the first time in eight games on a nice set-up from Mathieu Perreault.

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Connor hadn’t even recorded an assist in his last seven games.

That drought-buster leaves Pierre-Luc Dubois as the top-six forward in the deepest slump, without a goal in his last 15 games and pointless in seven.

And what about that Jets power play: 0-for-3 on Monday, one goal in its last 17 chances, two in its last 27?

“I don’t have an answer for you,” Mark Scheifele said. “We need to figure some things out as a team, offensively and defensively. We’ve got to figure them out soon… you want to go into the playoffs feeling good and feeling like you’ve got your mojo.”

At this point, the Jets’ mojo has set sail and disappeared over the horizon.

After Montreal lost in overtime to Edmonton, 100-point man Connor McDavid getting the winner, the Jets need just one more point to clinch third place and (gulp) a first-round playoff date with McDavid and the Oilers.

They have two games left.

At least nobody has to pay to watch them.

pfriesen@postmedia.com

Twitter: @friesensunmedia

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By The Numbers

Goals by period

Jets: 1-0-0—1

Canucks: 2-0-1—3

Shots by period

Jets: 13-14-13—40

Canucks: 14-10-7—31

Power plays

Jets: 0-3

Canucks: 0-1

Faceoff %

Jets: 64%

Canucks 36%

Hits

Jets: 25

Canucks: 17

Blocks

Jets: 13

Canucks 18

Giveaways

Jets: 10

Canucks: 10

Scoring leaders

Jets: Connor 1-0-1, Scheifele 0-1-1, Perreault 0-1-1

Canucks: Hoglander 2-0-2, Horvat 1-0-1

Shots

Jets: Scheifele 6, Morrissey 5, Connor 4

Canucks: Hoglander 6, Boeser 4

Hits

Jets: Thompson 4, Forbort 4, Perreault 3

Canucks: Horvat 3, Rathbone 3

Blocks

Jets: Forbort 4, Heinola 2, Thompson 2

Canucks: Edler 5, Rathbone 4, Schmidt 4

Faceoffs won-lost

Jets: Scheifele 10-9, Lowry 13-3, Stastny 7-1

Canucks: Horvat 11-21, Miller 9-9

NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 14, 2021 .
Players in the COVID protocol are: St. Louis' Jake Walman and Nathan Walker, and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov.St.

usr: 1
This is interesting!