WINNIPEG - The season may only be 14 games old, but the Winnipeg Jets already have three heartbreaking losses in those games - the most recent coming on Saturday.
Brady Tkachuk's deflection of a Mike Reilly point shot with 8.2 seconds left in regulation bounced past Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to put the Ottawa Senators up 2-1. Shortly after that, Winnipeg's six-game win streak over the Senators was halted.
Tkachuk's goal is the second game-winner to come in the final 10 seconds against the Jets this season, with Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl scoring with 0.1 seconds left on Jan. 24. Elias Lindholm did something similar to the Jets earlier this week, scoring a power play goal with 1:42 left in Tuesday's game to help the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 win.
"They're three different events. We had a lead against Edmonton, penalty in Calgary that we don't get a kill on, tonight was just a gaffe," said head coach Paul Maurice.
"Three of them in this short of period of time, you're not too happy about it. But there isn't a specific event that has taken place."
Mark Scheifele scored in the loss, which dropped the Jets to 8-5-1 on the season.
Video: POSTGAME | Mark Scheifele
Scheifele's goal extended his point streak to six games and the 27-year-old finished with two shots on goal in 22:37 of ice time, which led all Jets skaters. For the second straight game, the Jets played with 11 forwards and seven defencemen, as Pierre-Luc Dubois was unable to play due to a lower-body injury.
"There is a big adjustment. It changes the rhythm of things a little bit," said Scheifele. "That last game was the first time I've ever ran 11 and seven. There is a bit of an adjustment to it, a bit of finding your rhythm through that mix-up. It's just a matter of getting used to it."
Scheifele opened the scoring 5:43 into the second period. After sending a pass to Kristian Vesalainen in the neutral zone, Scheifele drove straight for the right post while Vesalainen held off a check from Erik Gudbranson up the left wing. Vesalainen slid the puck across and Scheifele lifted his sixth goal of the season over Marcus Hogberg's leg to put the Jets up 1-0.
"I actually tried to go to (Trevor Lewis), it slipped off and went to Scheifele," said Vesalainen, who has noticed that his off-season training is paying off so far this season, especially on a play like that one.
"I had eight months to work on that," said Vesalainen. "I got a lot faster and stronger in the summer. That helped a lot."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
But 1:44 later, Evgenii Dadonov redirected a Colin White backhand pass past Connor Hellebuyck to tie the game. The goal was Dadonov's fourth of the season and his third in the last four games.
Winnipeg outshot the Senators 12-9 in the final period and held the edge in high-danger chances (according to Natural Stat Trick) 9-3 at five-on-five.
Still, they couldn't get another past Hogberg. Maurice even shifted his lines a bit, reuniting Scheifele with Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler, as well as Andrew Copp with Nikolaj Ehlers and Paul Stastny - a trio that combined for 23 points from Jan. 21-30.
"Mark had his game going. I thought Blake is looking right and normal. There wasn't much going on with the other line at all, it was more of a negative in some ways," said Maurice.
"I liked the result of it after."
Video: POSTGAME | Kristian Vesalainen
Maurice's only issue, despite the final score, was some of the offensive decisions the Jets made while they were controlling play in the third.
"It's a tight game. We had some offence die, I felt, during the game on some simple plays that we could have made to keep the momentum," said Maurice. "We had some good O-zone shifts that died on the handling of puck at times."
With time ticking down, Maurice said a miscommunication on an Ottawa dump-in led to the game-winner.
"Connor has the right to go out and stop that puck so it doesn't get jammed on the wall," said Maurice. "He thinks Forbort is coming back to play it, so he leaves it. Forbort is going to the corner because he thinks Connor is going to give it to him. The puck rolled out of the trapezoid so Connor couldn't play it after that."
Winnipeg is 4-0-1 coming off a loss of any kind this season, including two wins after the losses suffered late in regulation time previously mentioned.
They'll need to do it again when they begin a four-game road trip in Edmonton on Monday.
"We're never out of a game," said Scheifele. "We always have faith that we can score and come back on teams. It's a tough loss tonight. We'll get a bit of rest and the next step is Edmonton."