The 1st period began as the Jets would like. They were fast, quick to get to free pucks and had an Andrew Copp breakaway chance stopped by Manitoban James Reimer. Mark Pysyk kept a puck in the Jets zone despite Joel Armia diving to knock it out. He then curled deeper into the Jets zone took a shot which redirected off Matt Hendricks and past Eric Comrie who is making his second career NHL start. 29 seconds later the Jets were looking up at the scoreboard to watch the replay when Aaron Ekblad when he grabbed his own rebound and put it upstairs on Eric Comrie to give the home side a 2-0 lead. Not the start the Jets nor Eric Comrie would have liked in south Florida. The young netminder make a couple more saves (Jets were being out shot 9-2 at one point) and then the Jets began to claw their way back into the game. Nikolaj Ehlers had a Patrik Laine tip go off him and into the back of the net. Originally the goal was credited to Laine as his 15th but it was changed during the intermission. About two minutes later Adam Lowry deposited a Brandon Tanev pass across behind Reimer to make it a 2-2 game after 20 minutes.
Early in the middle frame the Jets had a 5 on 3 advantage. They had numerous chances but James Reimer stood tall and his Panthers killed off the first Jets power play but with the second penalty ending Jets captain Blake Wheeler finished off a nifty scoring sequence to give the Jets a 3-2 lead. The Jets killed off the first Panthers power play and both teams traded chances although Winnipeg seemed to have a few more than the home side. Eventually Florida pressure and a Jets breakdown in front of Eric Comrie allowed Denis Malgin to tie up the game with just over four minutes to go in 2nd period. Kyle Connor scored on an subsequent Jets power play but it was waved off by the refs for a high stick. Then the rough stuff began, resulting in quite a few post-whistle scrums. As the period wound down Blake Wheeler took a penalty with 6.4 seconds to go in the 2nd period. Period would end tied 3-3.
The home side opened the 3rd on the power play with the Jets captain in the box and they made good on the opportunity to take a 4-3 lead when a shot came from the point, Comrie mades the save, but Trochek deposits the rebound. However, for the second time in the game Patrik Laine scored his 15th of the season to knot things up at 4. Jets had another 5 on 3 opportunity and despite some good chances couldn’t take the lead. This proved costly as the Panthers Derek McKenzie turns and fired a shot which Michael Haley with the perfect high slot tip, beat Comrie to make it a 5-4 game. The Jets had a golden chance to tie the game with Comrie pulled but failed to click and the Panthers scored into an empty net to make it a 6-4 hockey game.
The Jets are now 17-8-4 on the season and have lost two straight in regulation for the first time since games one and two to kick off the season.
For those who would like to take a deeper dive into the advanced stats here are the results from tonight’s game via Natural Stat Trick.
– Patrik Laine 1 G 2A
– Patrik Laine took the team lead with 15 goals;
– Eric Comrie 30 saves in the loss.
Coach Maurice: What did he see over the final 20 minutes? Lack of attention to detail? On the way the game went for Eric Comrie. The Jets power play. On the chance to face the Lightning. On switching up the D pairs. How do you hit the reset button on this one?
Audio courtesy of TSN 1290 Winnipeg.