WINNIPEG -- Home ice has been the Winnipeg Jets' happy place, where the MTS Centre's frenetic environment has made life tough on first-time visitors. But Winnipeg also entered the game having allowed an NHL-high 113 power plays this season, and penalty trouble cost the Jets in the third period against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
Zack Smith's power-play goal with 6:15 to play broke a 4-4 tie and the Senators beat Winnipeg 6-4 for their fifth win in seven games. The game featured five lead changes before Ottawa finally hammered out the win despite losing Nikita Filatov (broken nose) and Filip Kuba (upper body) to first-period injuries.
"We bent a bit," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said, "and bent a lot, but we didn't break. At the end of the night, we found a way to win the game. That's a great part of the learning curve for our team, learning how to win, especially learning how to win on the road."
Smith, who had scored in the second period, logged only one 40-second power-play shift in the game but made the most of the opportunity --though he admitted he was surprised when MacLean called his number.
"I think the biggest thing is that the coach has confidence in me," Smith said.
For MacLean, though, sending out Smith for the key third-period power play made sense.
"When players are playing hard," MacLean said, "you have to reward them with opportunity."
The inability to hold a lead -- the same problem that sank the Jets in Boston on Saturday night -- grounded the Jets again.
"To tell you I'm disappointed would be putting it mildly," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said. "I didn't think we played very intelligently. We didn't play certainly with our minds. We had some energy but I thought it was a poor game in a lot of areas."
"I sensed this would be a really difficult game to win after the first period," Noel acknowledged. "And as I watched it, I had no comfort no matter what, in that game. There was no period of time when I was comfortable."
Goaltender Craig Anderson served up a 39-save night for the Senators, who have allowed 37 or more shots in each of their past three outings. The Jets have 40 or more shots in three of their last five contests.
"It was a matter of at the end of the night whoever had the momentum last was going to win that game," Anderson said of the back-and-forth pace. "It's resilience. We have guys in here who just don't quit. We're a hard-working bunch."
Tuesday night's visit from the Senators began a stretch in which the Jets will play 13 of their next 15 games in Winnipeg.
The Senators, meanwhile, began another stretch on the road that will continue Thursday night at Dallas. When this week's three-game road swing concludes in Washington, the Senators will have logged nine of 10 games away from home.
The MTS Centre rumbled again when Winnipeg's Evander Kane scored twice in a span of 1:17 early in the third period to turn a 3-2 Ottawa lead into a 4-3 advantage for the home team.
The Jets overcame an Ottawa lead for the second time when Kane shoved the rebound of a Zach Bogosian shot past Anderson 1:24 into the third period. Kane then pounded home another rebound at 2:41 to send the Jets ahead. Kane's 12 goals lead the Jets, and he extended his goal-scoring streak to three games, tying the club's season-high.
But Northeast Division clubs have frustrated the Jets -- Winnipeg is 0-4-2 against them -- and the Senators proved to be no exception. Jason Spezza tied the game at 4-4 with his ninth goal at 9:35 before Smith's game-winner just over four minutes later. Nick Foligno put the Jets away for good with an empty-net tally with 1:08 to play.
Winnipeg also got goals by Blake Wheeler and Alexander Burmistrov, while goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stopped 28 shots while starting for the 15th time in 16 games.
Milan Michalek snapped a three-game goal drought in picking up two more goals for the Senators, and a team-leading eight of Michalek's 14 goals this season have been scored away from Ottawa. Michalek picked up two goals in the Senators' 4-1 win at Scotiabank Place when the clubs first met on Oct. 20.
Erik Karlsson ran his assists streak to three games with his 21st -- tops in the NHL -- while Chris Phillips and Erik Condra chipped in a pair of assists.
Ottawa opened the scoring when Alfredsson threaded a pass to Michalek through the neutral zone. The Senators' leading goal-scorer broke in on the Winnipeg net and lifted a shot over Pavelec's left shoulder at 15:55 of the opening period.
"We would have never won the game had we continued playing the first period like that," Noel said. "It was pathetic. It was awful. It was just typical, come home from the road and we had to snap out of it, and we did snap out of it and then we played in spurts."
But Winnipeg used a heavy forecheck to take the lead in the second period.
Dustin Byfuglien delivered a heavy hit along the end boards on Jared Cowen, who weakly flubbed the puck into the slot. Bryan Little snuck in and headed a cross-crease pass to Wheeler at the right post for an easy tap-in at 7:06. Wheeler's only two goals this season have all come in two of the Jets' past three performances at the MTS Centre.
Tanner Glass laid another big hit behind the Ottawa net on Cowen that allowed him to steer the loose puck to Burmistrov, stationed at the right of the net on the goal line. Burmistrov reeled in the puck before bouncing a shot off Anderson's left side that snuck into the net at 15:07.
But just 35 seconds later, Condra ripped a shot that Pavelec thought he had frozen but didn't -- and Smith flicked the puck into the net for his first of the night. The Senators went ahead at 19:16 when Michalek put a stick on a shot from along the right boards by Phillips and deflected the puck low past Pavelec.
"It seems like every time we score a goal, we kind of sit back a little bit," Bogosian said. "We've got to kind of get that killer instinct."