Winnipeg Loses Second Straight


WINNIPEG, MB. – On Friday and Saturday night, the Winnipeg Jets were reminded how tough the NHL’s Central Division can be.

On Friday, the Jets lost 2-1 in Chicago in what was a great hockey game and then on Saturday, the Jets hit a buzz-saw in St. Paul, Minn., as the Minnesota Wild got two goals from defenseman Matthew Dumba and whipped the Jets 4-1.

After going seven games without a regulation loss, the Jets dropped two straight against divisional rivals and things got a little tighter in the West.

The Jets are now to 26-13-7 and remained in first place in the Central Division, three points ahead of second-place Nashville. However, as the Jets start their six-day bye week, they find themselves having played four more games than the Predators. The Jets are still second overall in the West and tied for third overall in the NHL, but there are now six teams in the Central Division – Winnipeg (59), Nashville (56), St. Louis (55), Minnesota (52), Dallas (51) and Chicago (50) – that are separated by only nine points. Every other team but St. Louis has played fewer games than the Jets.

Winnipeg is now 6-2-1 in their last eight games and 5-2-1 since their star forward Mark Scheifele injured his shoulder. With Scheifele out of the lineup, the Jets have struggled to score in their last two road games.

Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker scored the first two goals of the game to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead, but Mathieu Perreault scored his 13th of the year from Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien on the power play at the 47-second mark of the third period to get Winnipeg back into the game. However, Dumba scored at 6:23 and 13:32 to put the game away.

The Wild outshot the Jets 41-33. Connor Hellebuyck made 37 saves in the Jets net while Devan Dubnyk made 32 in the Wild goal.

The Jets start the official player break on Sunday. They’ll play again in Calgary on Jan. 20, and then return to Winnipeg to play the Vancouver Canucks at Bell MTS Place at 7 p.m.

Scott Taylor, Manitoba Post

Photo by James Carey Lauder