WINNIPEG - Not much is coming easy for the Winnipeg Jets right now.
Even Saturday's game, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators, seemed to have challenges at every turn - not the least of it being the 11 games in 20 days that wrapped up against the Sens.
"We're at a point in the season that every team has where you're struggling to do some pretty basic things at time. Your overall speed will come off that, confidence, how we move the puck, our physicality," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice.
"You just see the way the legs are moving. Normally very quick people, aren't. We'll get some rest here over the next three days and we'll get back to work."
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
The challenges began early, with Dmitry Kulikov's double-minor for high-sticking putting the Jets down a man just 1:19 into the contest.
Just 17 seconds after that, Mark Stone ripped a one-timer past Laurent Brossoit to put Ottawa on the board.
But the Jets (36-19-4) didn't sit back. Instead, they forced a turnover at their own blue line that sent Brandon Tanev in all alone. With a quick move to the backhand, Tanev had his 13th of the season - and Winnipeg's eighth shorthanded goal of the campaign.
An interference penalty on Kulikov put the Jets down a man for the second time in the opening frame. But once again, Tanev factored in on a shorthanded goal, chasing down a puck cleared down the ice before finding Tyler Myers with a backhand pass to the right circle. Myers buried it high over the glove of Anders Nilsson, putting the Jets up 2-1.
Myers finished with two goals in the game, while Tanev also had a multi-point effort.
"It would have been nice to cap it off and get that extra point," said Myers. "Every team goes through a tough stretch at some point. We're facing a little adversity right now. We'll get our life back and finish a good last 20 (games) here."
Video: POSTGAME | Tyler Myers
Kyle Connor nearly added a third shorthanded goal, but his shot sailed over the Ottawa net after a pass from Adam Lowry on a 2-on-1 rush. The missed chance proved costly, as on that same power play, Rudolf Balcers tipped a Ryan Dzingel shot past Brossoit to tie the game at two.
Brossoit finished the game with 37 saves on 41 shots.
"I felt back to normal today. It's unfortunate the result isn't what we wanted," said Brossoit, who played in last week's 5-2 loss to the Senators.
He said the numerous penalty kills early in the game made it tough to build momentum.
"It's definitely a tough game to be in when you're on the PK that often. It takes the energy out of the guys," said Brossoit. "A lot of guys were out there for the PK and the other half are sitting on the bench. It's tough to gain a lot of momentum. I thought we did a good job coming back with a surge in the third period."
Seconds later, it appeared the Jets had their third goal of the night for a second time. Ben Chiarot's shot from the high slot beat Nilsson on the glove side, shortly after the Jets defenceman had held the puck in at the blue line - or so he thought. Ottawa challenged for offside and after a review, the puck had just come outside the blue line moments before Chiarot's shot.
Video: POSTGAME | Laurent Brossoit
More penalties put the Jets shorthanded late in the second - and Ottawa would take advantage of a 5-on-3 early in the third. Matt Duchene fired home his 27th of the season from just outside the crease to put the visitors on top 3-2.
It was the third and final power play goal the Jets gave up on the night after being shorthanded seven times.
"The stick related penalties are usually a sign that you're not right, and we're not right now," said Maurice.
"Going into tonight was the first five-game block of the season where we're under .500 at 2-3-0. So you're concerned."
Shortly after a Jets power play expired, Myers would net his second of the game to tie things up. He blasted a pass from Jack Roslovic from the high slot beating a screened Nilsson with 5:59 to go in regulation.
The Jets had a couple looks in the overtime, but Dzingel didn't miss when he had his opportunity, ending the game on his backhand with 1:16 to go in the extra frame.
"They have some good players. We knew even going up against them in Ottawa last week, they have a lot of speed up front. They especially use it coming in through the neutral zone," said Myers.
"The overtime goal was a good example of the team speed they have up front. We'll take the point and focus on the next game."
Next up, the Jets head out on the road for three games beginning on Wednesday in Colorado against the Avalanche.