Mar 26, 2012, 11:47 PM EDT
Technically speaking, the Winnipeg Jets aren’t mathematically eliminated from the 2012 playoffs. Still, it’s tough not to feel that they’re essentially toast after the Ottawa Senators outlasted them 6-4 tonight.
If nothing else, the Jets shouldn’t really feel “ashamed” – both from the perspective of this season and the individual contest. Just about every writer implied that the Jets could be atrocious and Winnipeg fans would be so delirious to have a team that it would all be gravy, so putting up a real fight to just fall short of the postseason isn’t half-bad. If we look back at this loss as the final nail in the coffin, it fits into the theme of overachieving, too.
Plenty of fight
The Senators took a 2-0 lead thanks to a late first period goal by Chris Neil and an early second period tally by wonderfully named Kaspars Daugavins, but the Jets didn’t just roll over. They tied it up about five minutes later and the theme carried on from there. Kyle Turris gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead at the 17:26 mark of the second period but Antti Miettinen scored his second goal of the night 20 seconds later to make it 3-3.
Daniel Alfredsson ended up being the killer, however. he scored about three minutes into the third period and while Evander Kane showed that the Jets still wouldn’t give up by making it 4-4 17:03 into the final frame, Alfredsson then scored the game-winner less than 30 seconds later. Milan Michalek scored an empty-netter to seal the deal, but ultimately the theme seemed to be “too little, too late” for the Jets.
(Heck, that might be an appropriate title for the team DVD, if those were allowed to be negative.)
Again, though, it’s tough to pile on the Jets unless you’re a jilted Atlanta Thrashers fan.
Even if you attribute it to Ottawa’s many leads, it’s impressive that Winnipeg out-shot Ottawa in all three periods and 48-35 overall. Shots aren’t everything, but they’re often a good way to illustrate team effort, which seemed to be there even if the talent wasn’t for the Jets.
Perhaps the most sobering factor is that this loss happened in Winnipeg, where the so-so team morphs into a serious threat.
End of the road
Sports Club Stats downgrades the Jets’ playoff chances from an already-paltry 4.1 percent to just .6 at this point, so tonight may indeed have been an informal curtain call. Still, if you’re a Winnipeg fan, you should probably feel reasonably satiated about the present and absolutely excited about the future.
Even if the short-term future probably won’t involve a trip to the playoffs.
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