PHILADELPHIA - Wells Fargo Center hasn't been friendly to visiting teams this season, and despite the best efforts of the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, they couldn't become one of the few teams to beat the Philadelphia Flyers on home ice.
Josh Morrissey and Patrik Laine scored for the Jets, who turned a 3-0 deficit into a one-goal game with 17 minutes left in regulation, but ultimately, Winnipeg couldn't get back on even footing, falling by a final score of 4-2.
"We had a sleepy start. We knew they were going to come hard right out of the gate, especially here," said Laine.
"After that I think we played better. In the second we were controlling the game. In the third, we just had a couple mistakes. It's a tough loss."
Video: POSTGAME | Patrik Laine
The loss snaps the Jets' win streak at three, while the Flyers improve to 21-5-4 on home ice this season.
Philadelphia got on the board 2:06 into the first period, when defenceman Ivan Provorov started a rush up the left wing side and left a drop pass for Scott Laughton. His wrist shot beat Connor Hellebuyck on the glove side to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
The Jets have now allowed the game's opening goal in seven straight contests.
"I liked our chances better than theirs," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice.
"We needed to get the puck to the net a little differently. Some of our best opportunities we didn't get to the net, we missed. Other than that, I'm not going to complain about the game."
Laughton's second of the period, a low shot across his body that squeaked under the pad of Hellebuyck, made it 2-0 Flyers before the midway mark of the opening period.
The frustrations continued for the Jets in the second. They opened the middle frame outshooting the Flyers 10-2, but couldn't find a way to get one by Carter Hart. It proved costly, as Sean Couturier added to the Philadelphia lead with his 19th of the season - a wrist shot off a scramble in front of Hellebuyck - with 5:10 to go.
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
Winnipeg's hard work was finally rewarded on their 14th shot of the second period. Mark Scheifele was able to hang on to the puck and circle behind the Flyers net, buying time for Morrissey to pinch down from the left point. Scheifele hit Morrissey with a pass, that the Jets defenceman ripped into the top right corner for his fifth of the campaign.
Nikolaj Ehlers picked up the secondary assist, giving him 50 points on the season, the third time in the last four seasons he's hit that mark.
The Jets (32-26-5) outshot the Flyers 15-4 in the middle frame, with high-danger opportunities also favouring the visitors, 5-1.
"I think we played a pretty good hockey game tonight. The bounces didn't go our way tonight," said Blake Wheeler, who finished with one assist. "They're a good team in this building. We weren't very opportunistic tonight, I guess, would be the way to put it. They had a couple bounces go their way around the net."
An early power play in the third provided the Jets another opportunity to chip away at the Flyers' lead - and that's what they did.
Neal Pionk sent a pass to Laine in the left circle, and the Finnish sniper made no mistake on the one-timer, blasting his 26th of the season over the shoulder of Hart with 17 minutes left in regulation.
"We were trying to play simple and get as many pucks to the net as we can. We were trying to create some O-zone time," Laine said of the change in Winnipeg's game that led to offensive opportunities. "That's where we're going to win games, if we win."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
But that's as close as the Jets would get, as Robert Hagg's point shot was deflected by Tyler Pitlick and past Hellebuyck with 10:26 left to play.
The Jets are right back on the ice on Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres in the third stop on a four-game road trip.