WINNIPEG - Everything was going right for the Winnipeg Jets early on Monday.
Unfortunately, those good feelings didn't last.
The Jets outshot the Montreal Canadiens 15-6 in the early going, but after Kyle Connor opened the scoring, Montreal scored four unanswered goals, paving the way to a 6-2 victory for the visitors. Patrik Laine scored the other Jets goal, his sixth in his past seven games.
Josh Morrissey was concise when describing where things went wrong for his team.
"The second period was brutal," Morrissey said of the middle frame, when the Jets were outshot 17-6.
"We got slow. They played well. We weren't any good in the second. That's pretty much the story. We tried to come back in the third but it was too little, too late."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
The loss dropped the Jets to 21-14-2 on the season, leaving them in third spot in the Central Division heading into the holiday break.
But head coach Paul Maurice said the team won't spend much time going over the video of the setback, which saw them outshot by a margin of 48-29.
"Nobody is carrying it with them," said Maurice. "It was a tough night tonight. We've had a bunch of good nights. That was a tough one."
The Jets got off to a flying start with several high-quality chances in the Montreal zone early in the first period. They thought they had opened the scoring when Laine finished off a pretty passing play, but it was called back after an off-side challenge.
Shortly after though, a Ben Chiarot goaltender interference penalty put the Jets on the power play. Connor got to a loose puck and slipped it by Carey Price with 8:30 left in the first period.
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
The Jets power play has now scored in five of the last seven games, lighting the lamp seven times in that stretch.
The Canadiens (18-13-6) responded on a power play of their own just 3:36 later with Tomas Tatar finishing off a cross-ice pass from Nick Suzuki.
Tatar's second of the night came 92 seconds after his first as he jammed home a loose puck in front of Laurent Brossoit for his 15th of the campaign, putting the Canadiens up 2-1 after 20 minutes.
"We came out ready to play tonight. We played a real good game, then we had two or three things go away from us and it was tough," said Maurice. "We had no legs from that point on."
Montreal increased the lead to 3-1 less than five minutes into the second when Phillip Danault batted a loose puck out of the air past a sprawling Brossoit.
Video: POSTGAME | Josh Morrissey
Danault's second of the night, off a face-off to the right of Brossoit made it 4-1 before the halfway mark of the middle frame.
"They hemmed us in a little bit in the second period. We weren't able to get out of our zone," said Blake Wheeler. "They got a couple good bounces going their way and all of a sudden, you go from having a really good start to being down a few goals and an uphill battle."
With 3:46 to go in the period, Laine took a drop pass from Mark Scheifele off the rush and wired a wrist shot past the stick side of Price to pull the Jets within two. That gave Laine 14 goals on the season, three back of Scheifele for the team lead in that department.
But a costly turnover in the final minute of the eventful second period led to another Montreal goal, with Max Domi flipping home his ninth goal of the season to restore a 5-2 cushion.
"I felt like they came out skating in the second period and our legs were a little slow," said Morrissey. "Everything about our game was a little bit slow. They took it over."
Artturi Lehkonen added one of his own in the third to round out the scoring.
"They deserved the win," Maurice said. "It's two points, not 12, fortunately. It's over."