Whatever positive energy came out of their comeback win in Calgary Saturday night vanished for the Winnipeg Jets in a 1-0 loss to the last-place Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.
The Jets controlled the play from the get-go, but as seen during their recent five-game winless streak, getting shots on goal has not been an issue.
The Jets pelted Coyotes rookie goalie Karel Vejmelka with 46 shots, but failed to turn on the goal light in getting shutout for the second time in the last four games.
“Nothing went in,” Jets forward Paul Stastny said. “Yeah, it’s frustrating, and those happen throughout the year.
“Kinda try to stay positive with it and just keep working, cause no one is gonna feel bad for us. We’re struggling a bit scoring, but it’s not for a lack of chances, and we didn’t cheat the game to try and get more. I think we played a sound game, and it just wasn’t there tonight.”
Vejmelka recorded his first career shutout after a 1-9-1 record in his first 13 career appearances in the NHL.
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The Jets have lost six of their last seven games, and have scored less than three goals in all but one of those contests.
The Jets outshot the Coyotes by a wide margin 46-15.
“There’s gonna be games where we play much worse than that this year and we win,” said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. “I don’t know if I’ve been apart of a game where you outshot a team by 30 in the NHL.
“We had plenty of meat on that bone tonight. I mean, there was some looks, empty nets, ones we typically put in. Tonight wasn’t our night.”
Their power play problems continued against the Coyotes as they finished the night 0-for-6 with the man advantage against the league’s second worst penalty kill. Since the Jets scored on their first power play chance in their Nov. 5 win over Chicago, the Jets have converted just two of 36 opportunities with the man advantage.
But the Jets still dominated the game in every facet, except on the scoreboard.
“The shots were 46-15 so we weren’t too damn bad tonight either, but I think we can be better,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “I don’t think our best chances may have hit the net. We had some really good ones that we missed the net on.”
Twice in the past seven games the Jets have surpassed the 40 shot mark, but they’ve lost both times.
“Your biggest concern in your offensive game is when you’re not generating anything, so now you’ve almost got it to an extreme at the other,” Maurice said. “You wouldn’t put 46 and 47 shots in a month normally, let alone the last 10 days, and you’re not putting the puck in the net, so small adjustments in terms of that.”
Getting pucks past the other team’s goalie has been a struggle for the Jets, and it continued Monday night against Vejmelka, fresh off his first career NHL win on Nov. 21.
Winnipeg steered 17 shots his way in the first period but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Arizona did get a power play in the period but Winnipeg killed it off without much issue.
The shot clock tilted even more in a very uneventful and boring second period. Winnipeg outshot Arizona 15-5 in the frame, had an unsuccessful power play, and had a 32-12 shot edge after 40 minutes, but found themselves behind on the scoreboard.
Antoine Roussel broke the stalemate with 2:01 left in the second period when he redirected a saucer pass from Loui Eriksson past Connor Hellebuyck.
The third period started out just like the first two for the Jets: a high volume of rubber towards Vejmelka, not a ton in terms of dangerous chances, and a zero still beside their logo on the scoreboard.
Just over five minutes into the final frame, Arizona’s Clayton Keller took a tripping penalty, but the Coyotes’ 31st-ranked penalty kill took care of it with ease, only for Travis Boyd to take a hooking penalty one second after Keller’s minor penalty expired.
This should have been a good time for the Jets to find the equalizer, but a special teams unit that had scored on just two of its last 32 power plays continued to sputter, managing just one shot combined on the two chances.
With 5:08 left, an even better chance for the home side when Kyle Capobianco took a double-minor penalty for high sticking. It was now or never for the Jets.
The Jets managed just three shots on goal in the four minutes of power play time, which also included Andrew Copp completely whiffing on a one-timer right beside a yawning cage.
Winnipeg would get one last crack with just 6.3 seconds remaining when Anton Stralman hauled down Josh Morrissey. With Hellebuyck pulled, the Jets won the faceoff but Kyle Connor’s one-timer missed the mark and the clock hit zeroes to a small chorus of boos from the home crowd.
Arizona improved to 5-15-2 on the season.
Hellebuyck made 14 stops in the defeat as Winnipeg fell to 10-8-4.
This was also the team’s eighth straight game played in a different time zone than their previous game, and they’ll get a chance to rest up a bit before their next game Friday night at home against New Jersey.
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