An uncharacteristically bad defensive effort in the second period in Montreal on Tuesday night, put an abrupt end to the Winnipeg Jets’ three-game winning streak.
A series of neutral zone errors, missed assignments and dangerous turnovers, especially in the middle period, left Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck on his own for most of the frame as Montreal scored three times and went on to beat the visiting Jets 4-1.
With the loss , the Jets fell to 29-15-1 on the season and remained in a first-place tie with Dallas in the Central Division. Both teams have played 45 games.
After a scoreless first period, the Jets actually opened the scoring on a power play as Kyle Connor fired a blast past Habs goaltender Sam Montembault at 1:24 of the second. It was Connor’s 22nd of the season and the 200th of his brilliant six-year National Hockey League career.
However, that was the final bright spot of the game for the Jets. As the defence skated around like the old Keystone Cops and the forwards failed to help out, Montreal got goals from Evgenii Dadonov (his third) at 7:46, Mike Hoffman (his eighth) at 9:28 and Dadonov again (his fourth) at 13:31 and that pretty much ended it.
Josh Anderson scored his 12th of the season at 4:19 of the final period to put it away, but the damage had already been done. The second period was a disaster the Jets must forget ever happened.
Montreal outshot Winnipeg 28-26 (10-6 in the first, 11-10 in the second and 7-10 in the third) and outhit Winnipeg 25-20. The Jets won 53 per cent of the face-offs. The Jets went one-for-two on the power play while Montreal was zero-for-three. Adam Lowry of the Jets and Arber Xhjekaj of the Canadiens had a meaningless fight in the dying seconds.
The Jets had some decent scoring chances, especially in the final period, but this one of those games that have to filed and cast aside. There simply wasn’t a lot that was good about it.
In fact, some of the Jets had horrible nights. Despite his power-play goal and seven shots on net, Connor was minus-four. Ville Heinola was minus-three and looked completely lost. Dylan DeMelo had three giveaways and was minus-one.
It was a game to forget.
The Jets will return to action on Thursday night when they continue this gruelling five-game road trip in Toronto. The Leafs beat Paul Maurice and his Florida Panthers 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday night.
Game time on Thursday is 6 p.m. CST.