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Jets end home stand with tough loss to Lightning

Roslovic scores ninth of season, Jets split season series with Tampa Bay

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - As tempting as it might be, Blake Wheeler said the Winnipeg Jets won't be just tossing the game tape from a 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning to the side.

Sure, Friday night at Bell MTS Place isn't a night the Jets (25-19-4) want to remember, but there are lessons to be learned.

"You look at why. We came out right. We were jumping early. The chances we gave up were ones that they're going to score," said Blake Wheeler.

"It just wasn't a good night for us."

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

Jack Roslovic scored the lone goal for the Jets, his ninth of the season (tying his career high from last season), but that meant nothing to the 22-year-old.

"They're a good team. They played hard," he said. "(We'll) brush it off. Get ready for a big road trip."

The visitors - who had won 11 of their last 13 coming in - opened the scoring with Anthony Cirelli's 10th of the season, which came off a one-timer in the slot when Ondrej Palat left a drop pass for the 22-year-old 9:27 into the opening period.

Then, after Kyle Connor put one off the post, the Lightning made it 2-0. Andrew Copp's pass was picked off high in the Tampa Bay zone by Brayden Point. He sent a stretch pass to Nikita Kucherov, sending he and Steven Stamkos in alone on Connor Hellebuyck. Kucherov finished a give-and-go for his 21st of the campaign. 

Cirelli's second of the period with 52.4 seconds to go - a deke in tight around a poke check from Hellebuyck - made it 3-0.

"It would be difficult to say our start was good, but I thought the first few shifts were fine. We're just not defensively competitive enough in that game to win," said head coach Paul Maurice. "We gave up six shots in the first, three are in the back of the net - a 1-on-0, a 2-on-0, and a 2-on-1."

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

Kucherov's second of the night came in the second period, after the Jets were hemmed inside their own zone. The Lightning winger took a cross crease pass from Point and put it past Hellebuyck's outstretched right pad.

"It's a good hockey league. It's tough to get wins," said Mark Scheifele. "You have to be on the ball for 60 minutes. When you go up against a good team like Tampa you have to be on your toes at all times. We just have to get past this one."

Carter Verhaeghe made it 5-0 with 8:50 to go in the second, which ended the night for Hellebuyck, who finished with seven saves on 12 shots.

Roslovic scored with 8:16 to go in the second, finishing off a nice pass from Mathieu Perreault to put the Jets on the board. It was Roslovic's second goal in as many games.

Cirelli completed his first career hat trick in the third and Alex Killorn added a single of his own to round out the scoring for the Lightning (29-15-4).

"When this team has had success, we've looked a certain way," said Wheeler. "We've had to battle extremely hard to get to a certain point. It could be just losing sight of some of those little details. I feel like the mindset is right, it feels like the effort is there, it feels like the mentality is there, it feels like we're connected on the ice.

"At the end of the day, 7-1 at home, that's not going to get the job done."

Video: POSTGAME | Mark Scheifele

With a three-game road trip ahead prior to the NHL All-Star and player break, Maurice wants Saturday's practice to be focused on one thing.

"We're going to look at one idea only tomorrow. That's some of our 'single gap competitive' - when the game was one-on-one and we weren't able to at least stop them," said Maurice, citing four of the goals where that concept was an issue.

"You have to win those battles. It's not how many goals you score in the league, it's the final score that matters."

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