Immediately after snapping a season-long seven-game losing skid, the Winnipeg Jets have fallen victim to the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-2.
The Jets fell behind early and never regained their footing after two first period Ottawa goals were scored just 1:15 apart.
Rookie phenom Tim Stutzle led Ottawa’s offensive attack, potting a hat trick with his 10th, 11th and 12th goals of the year. Connor Brown was responsible for the other tally.
Mason Appleton scored Winnipeg’s first goal 55 seconds into the second period.
Mark Scheifele notched his 200th career NHL goal in the third period.
Connor Hellebuyck fell to 22-17-3 on the year.
Getting the start for a third consecutive game, Filip Gustafsson turned aside 27 shots on the way to collecting his fourth win of the season.
Gustafsson owns a record of 4-1-2 following the win.
The loss sees Winnipeg’s record drop to 28-22-3.
“I thought we looked like a team that just broke a seven-game streak and qualified for the playoffs and beat the team that knocked us out of the playoffs last year and we spent a lot in that game,” said head coach Paul Maurice.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of emotion. The hard work was there, the effort was there, but the emotion was hard to find.”
The Senators improve to 22-27-5.
Ottawa’s Victor Mete found himself in the penalty box for hooking just five minutes into the game.
Failing to create any high-danger chances on the early powerplay, Winnipeg fired a pair of close-range shots at Gustafsson almost immediately after the two-minute clock expired.
Andrew Copp snapped the first one, Adam Lowry was all over the rebound but the rookie goaltender stood tall, making a total of 10 first period saves.
His team helped him out tremendously, scoring two goals just 1:15 apart following halfway mark of the opening period.
Connor Brown (20) deflected a Mete point shot past Hellebuyck for the opener and Tim Stutzle (10) tipped home an Artem Zub wrister as the Sens took a two-goal lead into the break.
Winnipeg finished the period 0/2 on the powerplay without landing in the sin bin themselves.
Desperately in need of a momentum boost, the Jets capitalized on a missed assignment by the Sens, cutting the deficit in half exactly 55 seconds into the second period.
From behind the net, Mark Scheifele fed a wide-open Mason Appleton (10) in the slot, making it a 2-1 hockey game.
That was all the scoring an empty Bell MTS Place would lay its eyes on during the second frame.
Winnipeg created more traffic in front of the net compared to the first period, but the Appleton tally was all the home team had to show for it.
The Jets edged Ottawa in second period shots 8-7.
German rookie Tim Stutzle (11) found his way back on the scoresheet in the third, wiring a beautiful wrist shot top-shelf past Hellebuyck to give the visitors a 3-1 lead.
The tic-tac-toe play was initiated by Connor Brown with Shane Pinto finding an uncovered Stutzle just inside the near faceoff circle.
Just when it seemed over for the Jets, Mark Scheifele (20) sprung loose into the Sens’ zone, scoring with 52 seconds left on the clock to pump an ounce of life into the Winnipeg bench.
Tim Stutzle (13) quickly put any thought of a comeback to rest, scoring an empty netter after incepting a pass in the neutral zone.
Stutzle’s hat trick propelled the Sens to a 4-2 victory.
The Jets have three games left in the regular season beginning with a back-to-back on home ice against Vancouver on Monday and Tuesday.
The first place Toronto Maple Leafs will visit Bell MTS Place Friday, in what’ll serve as the regular season finale for both squads.
All three games carry seven o’clock start times.
Paul Edmonds and Jamie Thomas will have the call on 680 CJOB, with the pre-game show beginning two hours early hosted by Kelly Moore.
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