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Jets fire 40 shots on goal but fall to Avalanche in home stand finale

Jets finish home stand 2-1-1; Laine leads team with eight shots

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - While the Winnipeg Jets have performed well during the absence of Bryan Little due to injury, the Colorado Avalanche proved they can do the same with injuries in their line-up.

Nathan MacKinnon scored twice while Cale Makar and Joonas Donskoi added singles in a 4-0 Avalanche win over the Jets (10-8-1), who saw their five-game point streak come to an end.

"It was a frustrating game. I thought on a couple of goals, it felt like we were right there. The pucks didn't go our way a couple times," said Josh Morrissey, who finished with 20:12 of ice time. "We had a lot of good chances. Give them credit, their goalie made some big saves. We're playing really good hockey. Our record shows that here over the last little while. It's a tough league to win in. 

"This is one that you feel like you do a lot of good things and you end up with nothing to show for it."

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

It wasn't for a lack of trying from the Jets side of things.

The home side outshot the Avalanche 40-25 (including 31-17 over the final 40 minutes), and held the edge in shot attempts at even strength as well by a margin of 55-34.

But they couldn't beat Avalanche goaltender Adam Werner, who made his NHL debut unexpectedly on this night when Colorado starter Pavel Francouz left the game after a collision with Mark Scheifele 31 seconds into the game.

Head coach Paul Maurice felt the Jets needed to do a bit more to make Werner's night difficult.

"What I'm left with is I didn't think that the offence we had we made the most of. We had some transition inside their line early that we just didn't connect on in the first period. There was some offence that we just left on the table," said Maurice.

"The last would be getting to a harder net front area. More screens on a guy that was seeing an awful lot of pucks. He made saves, but he saw just about every shot that we had on him."

Video: POSTGAME | Josh Morrissey

Despite power plays for both sides in the opening period, Makar's even strength marker with just over 58 seconds to go was the only puck to get by either goaltender in the first. Makar took the pass in the left circle, made a quick move around Mathieu Perreault to get to the slot, then beat Connor Hellebuyck on the glove side.

Winnipeg is a team that has stayed in the fight all season. In fact, coming into the night the Jets were 4-0-1 when trailing after the first period and had five wins when trailing through 40 minutes. 

But the Avalanche (11-5-2) were 7-0-1 when leading through two periods - and wasted no time adding to their lead in the third.

After a scoreless second period, Colorado extended the lead 18 seconds into the third period. Matt Calvert sent a quick backhand pass from just outside the crease to the high slot where MacKinnon was waiting. He sent a shot to the top corner for his 10th of the campaign and a 2-0 Avalanche lead.

MacKinnon added his second of the night on a breakaway with 12:47 left on the clock.

"He creates chances with that speed. First goal, he cuts back and hits that defenceman and the rest is history. The breakaway goal is self-explanatory," said Morrissey. "It's a lot like playing against (Connor) McDavid. He comes underneath on the rush and just seems to find a way to be in the right place at the right time and grab it at full speed."

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

Donskoi added a power play marker - the first the Jets had given up since Nov. 2, a streak of 10 consecutive kills - to round out the scoring.

"At a certain point in time you'll give up one. I thought for the most part we did a good job on the penalty kill," said Blake Wheeler. "They got a rebound and chipped it in. They have one more guy than we do. They're going to get those looks. They made it count."

After a home stand that saw them go 2-1-1, the Jets head on the road for four games beginning Thursday night in Florida against the Panthers.

"There was a lot of good," Wheeler said of the home stand. "We don't come home and blow teams away anymore. It's just as much of a grind as it is on the road. I think it's a good thing. We've stayed in games, we've stayed in the fight. 

"I thought the bulk of our game was really good tonight. The score wasn't really indicative of it. You move on and look to have a good road trip."

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