The understanding that losses are never celebrated in the National Hockey League does not preclude a team like the Winnipeg Jets from quietly acknowledging that on occasion, a defeat probably needed to happen.
Tuesday night’s sluggish effort in Montreal, which resulted in only the Jets’ second loss in the last 10 games, was indeed that — a learning moment with a humbling sidebar, but also a poignant example of how hard it is to win in the world’s best league.
With 29 wins and a share of first place in both the Central Division and Western Conference, the Jets aren’t getting fat — at this point anyway — on their success by any measure.
If they were, Tuesday night was a jolt of reality and a necessary reminder that resting on one’s laurels just slightly over the halfway point of the season isn’t advisable.
The Jets were slow, unproductive and far too loose with the puck, resulting in countless turnovers, tardy reaction time and an overall malaise to which many were culpable.
In other words, it was not their finest hour!
"We sat back and we weren't on our toes and we didn't have our skating legs."
Hear from KC, JMo, and Coach Bones after tonight's game in Montreal 👇
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) January 18, 2023
But as mentioned, it should not be overlooked on how last night’s setback could actually benefit the Jets over the course of the remaining four games of this five-game road trip.
And that’s especially important since the calibre of competition is set to become more difficult Wednesday night in Toronto against a team that is not 11 points out of a playoff spot like the Canadiens, but rather a top-tier squad like the Maple Leafs.
Sure, losses aren’t celebrated in the National Hockey League, but rejoicing the wins that follow them is usually that much more special — especially after you’ve been reminded of how hard it is to achieve them.
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