Although hoping to turn the tables and play a solid full 60 minutes of pre-playoff hockey, the Jets staggered out of the gate, seemingly unable to link any offensive chance to the next. And for the third-straight game Winnipeg was heavily outplayed, dropping yet another home game, this time by a score of 3-1.
It was a difficult start for the Jets, who were unable to put together any offence, finding themselves outshot 16-5 after the opening frame came to a close. The visitors had three grade-A scoring chances from the low slot, finding the twine on their third opportunity. Winnipeg narrowly missed out on receiving any power plays upon many occasion, as the only man advantage handed out went to Montreal.
It lasted all of eight seconds.
With Nikolaj Ehlers in the penalty box for tripping down former teammate Joel Armia in the offensive zone, the Finland native, who spent three years as a Winnipeg Jet, finished off a pretty Montreal passing play to score his 12thgoal of the season with just three minutes remaining in the frame.
The second period provided somewhat of a repeat of the opening frame, as Montreal doubled its lead over the hometown Jets, once again on a late-period strike. Once again Winnipeg was unable to put together much on the offensive side of things, finding themselves beaten to loose pucks, outmuscled, and rather simply outplayed through 40 minutes.
After registering 16 shots in the opening period, the visitors put up another 13 in the second, jumping ahead to a 16-shot lead, heading into the third period up 29-13. With just over half-a-minute to play in the second, Jeff Petry found the twine immediately off an offensive zone faceoff. Making that goal that much more miserable for Winnipeg is the fact that Kevin Hayes hit the post on a three-on-one less than 10 seconds before the Habs’ goal.
The third period provided Winnipeg fans with some brief moments of excitement, as the home team finally found a goal midway through the frame. Mathieu Perreault hammered a loose puck from the slot past a sprawling Carey Price, cutting the Habs’ lead to just one goal. However, that exuberance was short lived as Montreal sealed the deal with an empty net marker late in the game on a Dustin Byfuglien turnover.
Winnipeg finished with just 24 shots – 20 less than Montreal’s total output. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 41 of the 43 pucks he faced, coming up short to Carey Price’s 23-save performance.
The Jets now head out on the road for the final four games of the 2018-19 season, making stops in Chicago, Minnesota and Colorado over the course of the next week, before finishing the year in Arizona next Saturday evening. Monday’s matchup against the Blackhawks is slated for a 7:30 PM central start, while Tuesday’s game against the Wild will begin at 7:00 PM.