ST. PAUL, MN. – For the Winnipeg Jets, Saturday’s game in Minnesota felt awfully similar to their home opener.
Like Thursday, the Jets opened the scoring. Like Thursday, they allowed four straight goals to their opponent. And like Thursday, a late rally would be needed to try and push it to overtime.
But the Jets couldn’t complete the comeback this time around, running out of magic in a 4-3 loss to the Wild.
The visitors got on the home first thanks to an absolute bullet off the stick of Nikolaj Ehlers late in the first. Then with just three seconds left in the period, Blake Wheeler got credited with his second of the year to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
But the second was all Minnesota: a trio of goals, one of them on the power play, to give the Wild the lead heading into the third. The Jets were outshot 12-2 in the period.
Jonas Brodin extended the lead with six minutes left. By the time Mark Scheifele scored to make it a one-goal game, there were only 19 seconds left and the Jets simply ran out of time.
“Good first period, and it turned quickly on us there. The momentum in the building, the home team got skating and we struggled with that,” head coach Paul Maurice said after the loss. “All things open up after chaos gets created and we didn’t create enough chaos in the offensive zone.”
Michael Hutchinson got the start in goal, and did what he could to keep it close, stopping 27 of the 31 shots he faced.
“They’re a good team and they’re going to get chances. They were able to get a couple pucks to bounce their way, get a couple odd-man rushes on us. That’s not our game, not the way it usually goes,” Hutchinson explained. “I felt good about my whole game. The fourth goal I would like to have back, that’s on me, but other than that I felt pretty confident with my game.”
The Jets return home with a 1-1 record to face the Boston Bruins Monday night.