KANATA, Ontario - For just the fourth time this season, the Winnipeg Jets have lost consecutive games in regulation.
Following Thursday's 5-2 loss to Montreal, the Jets fell behind 2-0 after 20 minutes against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and couldn't recover, falling by an identical 5-2 score.
The Jets outshot Ottawa 46-32 and had a total of 86 shots attempts, something Blake Wheeler said was a step in the right direction after the loss to Montreal.
"We did a lot of things that we didn't do in that game. We played with speed. We spent the bulk of this game down in their end," said Wheeler. "Coming into this game we knew what this team was good at, they're opportunistic with guys up front that can make you pay if you give them odd-man rushes. They buried on their chances.
"At the end of the day, their goalie was the number one star of the game."
Video: WPG@OTT: Little hammers Laine's feed past Nilsson
Bryan Little and Brendan Lemieux had the Jets only goal in the loss, which drops the Jets to 34-18-3, still tops in the Central Division.
In Little's mind, the Jets improved on what they wanted to coming off the loss to the Canadiens, but couldn't cash in on their chances, as Ottawa's Anders Nilsson turned away 44 Jets shots.
"The plan going into tonight was more pucks to the net. Simplify things, not try and seam too many pucks and look for the extra pass, just keep it simple," said Little. "It paid off, we had a lot of shots, a lot of scoring chances, just couldn't find the back of the net as much as we wanted to."
Mark Stone opened the scoring for Ottawa just under three minutes in, when his wrist shot from the high slot beat Laurent Brossoit low on the glove side.
From that point, the Jets went on a run outshooting Ottawa 11-2, but the Senators' next shot proved lethal. Ryan Dzingel let a wrist shot go off the rush from the left wing that beat Brossoit on the glove side, putting the home side up 2-0.
"It was more rush gap than anything else," Jets head coach Paul Maurice said, describing what led to Ottawa's chances. "They were in behind a couple times. Maybe loose is the right word, but not guys peeling off or cheating. We looked a little tight to start the game - the first six or seven minutes.
"We did pretty close to what we wanted to do offensively other than beat a goaltender. We were more direct with the puck, we certainly liked our zone time, and some of the looks we did get."
Video: WPG@OTT: Lemieux redirects shot past Nilsson
The Jets got on the board exactly two minutes into the second when Patrik Laine broke in on a 2-on-1 with Bryan Little. Laine's saucer pass got by Cody Ceci to Little, who hammered it into the top corner for his 14th of the campaign.
"I had a feeling he'd pass," said Little.
"We're trying to get him to shoot even more. I feel like that's how you break out of those things. It was a great pass, right on my tape, nice saucer pass. I'm not complaining. As a whole, we want him to shoot more."
But a Dustin Byfuglien holding penalty put the Senators on the power play. Stone took a pass in the left circle, picked his spot, and slapped home his second of the game with 10:10 to go in the middle frame.
Then when Brossoit couldn't corral a loose puck in his crease, the Senators pounced on it, with Matt Duchene shoving home his 25th of the season to increase the Ottawa lead to 4-1.
"It was a mad scramble and everyone was trying to do a different thing," said Brossoit. "Either get control of it and get it to the corner, and I was trying to freeze it and a couple other guys were trying to do the same.
"It just kept bouncing around and it was an unlucky one."
Zack Smith would add his sixth of the season before Lemieux countered back for Winnipeg with 43 seconds left in regulation.
The Jets wrap up the road trip tomorrow afternoon in Buffalo against the Sabres.
"There is frustration. The Montreal game was a considerably different feel. That was a little bit more of an embarrassment," Wheeler said. "For the bulk of this game we did what we set out to do. It was one that didn't go our way., certainly we're not happy with the result. Hopefully we can make it right tomorrow."