A Nikita Zaitsev point shot with just 1:13 left in the third period gave the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets Monday night. The loss for the Jets moved their losing streak in regulation to seven games, the longest since the franchise moved to Winnipeg.
The Jets had more than their fair share of scoring opportunities, including a 10-minute stretch to open the second period where they outshot Ottawa 11-0.
“It feels like we have to be perfect to win a game,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “That’s how it’s going for us right now. I think they had a couple even-strength scoring chances all game. You lose the game, it’s kinda hard to describe.
“It’s just really important for our team to drown out the noise right now, and look at that film, and say the only thing missing was the result.”
The Jets scoring woes continued on Monday. They’ve only scored more than one goal in a game once over their last five games, and have just seven goals total over that stretch.
But it appeared the Jets were poised to end the losing streak after Josh Morrissey tied the game midway through the final frame, only to give up a late goal after having several chances to clear the puck.
“It’s difficult to give up a goal late when you’re dying for a win,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “You’re scratching and clawing kinda back in there, as good as you’ve been at 5-on-5 in a number of games, and then you give up one 5-on-5 – the first one of the night. So, yeah, it’s tough.”
The Jets struggles on special teams continued. Not only did they finish the night 0-for-6 on the power-play despite getting 13 shots with the man advantage, but they also surrendered a shorthanded marker.
The last time the franchise had a seven-game losing streak was in 2006 when they were still the Atlanta Thrashers. The franchise record for consecutive regulation losses is 10 from the 1999-2000 season.
“You gotta just keep pushing,” said Morrissey. “I thought we did a lot of great things in that game, and the only thing that we didn’t do was find a way to win, and obviously that’s what it’s all about, but I think there’s a lot of things that again we can build off of. It’s tough to continually say that when you keep losing, but we got to stick together now more than ever.”
Morrissey set a new career best with nine shots on goal in the loss.
Filip Gustavsson was the one making life difficult for the Jets as he made 25 straight saves before Winnipeg broke his shutout bid midway through the third period. He finished the night with 28 saves as the Jets outshot Ottawa 29-18 in the game. It was the rookie goalie’s first start since April 1 and just the fifth of his career.
The loss by the Jets combined with an overtime win by Montreal against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday means the two clubs are now tied for third place in the North Division. Both teams have 57 points in 51 games.
Adam Lowry was back on his usual line with Andrew Copp and Mason Appleton as he made his return to the Jets lineup after missing four games.
Lowry last played April 22 against Toronto, leaving that contest after taking a hit from Maple Leafs forward Alex Galchenyuk.
The 28-year-old centre played 17:57 with 3 hits, 2 shots on goal and went 67 per cent in the faceoff circle.
Lowry replaced Jansen Harkins in the lineup. It was one of two changes for the Jets as Logan Stanley dressed on the blueline in place of Jordie Benn.
Ottawa forward Connor Brown opened the scoring with a shorthanded effort at the 8:30 mark of the first period. Teammate Nick Paul was able to beat Winnipeg’s Neal Pionk and Paul Stastny to find Brown in front of the net, wristing it over the blocker of Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit. That was Brown’s fourth shorthanded goal of the season and moved his point streak against Winnipeg to five games.
While taking a 1-0 lead into the break, Ottawa would lose a key player in the period. Defenceman Thomas Chabot took a hit from Jets blue-liner Logan Stanley around eight minutes into the game and he would not return due to an upper-body injury.
The Jets did everything but score in the second period. Winnipeg opened the frame by outshooting Ottawa 11-0 in the first ten minutes and 17-4 for the period.
But they still could not get one past Gustavsson as the score remained 1-0 for Ottawa through 40 minutes.
Winnipeg would finally break through midway through the third period. On a four-on-four situation, a point shot from Morrissey just barely got past Gustavsson to even the game at a goal apiece.
But Ottawa would find a way to retake their lead. Zaitsev’s game-winner came on a slap shot from the blueline that went through two Jets players and over the shoulder of Brossoit with just over a minute left to play.
Brossoit made 16 saves on 18 Ottawa shots in the loss, his first start since April 14.
The Jets look to end the losing skid as they close out their three-game road trip on Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames. You can listen to the game live on 680 CJOB with Kelly Moore, Paul Edmonds, and Jamie Thomas with the pregame show starting at 6:30 p.m. and puck drop just after 8:30 p.m.
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