Jets look to avenge home stumble vs. Senators
The Winnipeg Jets will look to rebound from a rare misstep at home when they take the ice Saturday against the visiting Ottawa Senators, who have endured significant troubles on the road this season.
The Central Division-leading Jets, who boast a Western Conference-best 21 victories at home, had collected a point in nine straight (8-0-1) inside their own building before Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
Brandon Tanev scored his career-high 12th goal midway into the first period for Winnipeg, which sustained its first regulation home setback since a 3-1 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 29.
"It's saying we've been pretty good at home. Games like that are going to happen. It's how you respond to them," Jets defenseman Tyler Myers told the Winnipeg Sun after the loss to the Avalanche. "(Thursday) was an off night for us. We want to get to a consistency we can carry into a good playoff series."
One consistency for the Jets has been their fruitless power play, which is 0-for-15 in the last six outings. Winnipeg has lost four of those six games, a stretch that includes a 5-2 setback at NHL-worst Ottawa last Saturday.
Patrik Laine notched an assist in that contest against the Senators, but the 20-year-old Finn has struggled to find the net since his sizzling 18-goal outburst in November. Laine scored just three times in December and is mired in a season-high 13-game goal drought, but coach Paul Maurice saw some positives against Colorado.
"I liked his game," Maurice said. "I thought five-on-five he was skating and working, and he had some good looks. He had his game going."
Laine has scored 11 of his 25 goals on the power play to lead the team. It is four more than Mark Scheifele, who has a club-best 30 goals overall. Captain Blake Wheeler has notched 21 of his team-leading 56 assists with the man advantage.
Winnipeg native Mark Stone, who shares Ottawa's team lead in goals (26) with fellow soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Matt Duchene, scored twice in the previous encounter with the Jets. Stone tallied again for his club-best 57th point in Tuesday's 4-1 setback versus Carolina, before being held in check two nights later in a 3-2 loss at Detroit.
"We had over 40 shots in someone else's building and held them under 30," Senators coach Guy Boucher said of the team's loss to the Red Wings. "I'll take those stats every day. We just didn't capitalize on our opportunities."
Duchene also scored versus Winnipeg and joined Brady Tkachuk in tallying against Detroit to give him five goals in his last five games and 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in his past 15.
Defenseman Thomas Chabot set up a goal against the Jets and notched his team-leading 33rd assist versus the Red Wings to give him five points in his last five contests.
Despite the production from Stone, Duchene and Chabot, Ottawa has dropped seven of nine overall and four in a row on the road. The Senators own a 7-19-1 mark away from the their own building, with the road victory total matching New Jersey for the fewest in the league entering play on Friday.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 15, 2019