Needing as many wins as possible to stay in the playoff hunt, the Winnipeg Jets laid an egg Thursday night, dropping a 5-2 decision at home to the Ottawa Senators.
After taking just over six minutes to register a shot on goal, the Jets found the back of the net first thanks to a bit of a weird one.
Josh Morrissey carried the puck down toward the corner in Ottawa’s end and directed a pass to Blake Wheeler in front of the net, but before it got there, goalie Anton Forsberg redirected it into the net from the harsh angle.
The goal was the 10th of the season for Morrissey, the first time in his career he has broken double-digits in goals in a season.
Winnipeg held onto the lead until the 14:06 mark when Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk tipped a point shot past Connor Hellebuyck, ensuring the Jets goaltender would not record a shutout for the second straight start.
The Jets held an 11-8 edge in shots after one, leading into a second frame where neither side generated much in terms of high-quality scoring chances. Ottawa outshot the Jets 11-7 in the period but the score remained 1-1 heading to the third.
The score remained tied until the 12:25 mark of the third when Tyler Ennis finished off a 2-on-1 into a yawning cage.
Less than a minute later, Brenden Dillon was called for the first penalty of the night and the Sens made him pay. Colin White got the puck at the side of the net and tucked it past Hellebuyck for the backbreaker that sent some fans to the exits early.
Connor Brown left no doubt in anyone’s mind that Ottawa would win the game 59 seconds later when he was the benefactor of a defensive breakdown, scoring his 10th of the season to make it 4-1.
With nothing to lose at that point, the Jets decided to pull the goalie for an extra attacker and Kyle Connor pulled Winnipeg within two with 2:54 to go with his 40th of the season.
But any hope of a long-shot comeback was dashed when Tkachuk scored his second of the night into the empty net with 1:16 to go.
Hellebuyck made 28 saves in the loss, allowing 3+ goals for the 12th time in 13 starts, though it would be unfair to pin this loss on him. The players in front of him generated very little offence.
Former Jet Anton Forsberg made 22 saves in the victory.
The Jets will get back at it Friday night when Patrik Laine and the Columbus Blue Jackets visit.
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