October 20 2011 10:35PM
By: Darrin Bauming
Coming off a two-goal third period implosion Wednesday night in Toronto, the Winnipeg Jets went into Ottawa looking to escape their brief Ontario road trip with three of a possible four points. The Senators decided to put together their most effective outing of the year Thursday, dominating the Jets, and capturing a 4-1 victory.
The win leapfrogs the Sens (2-5-0) past the surprisingly lowly Montreal Canadiens for fourth place in the Northeast Division.
Winnipeg’s record of 1-4-1 remains third-worst in the NHL, and return home still winless in four road games. They play eight of their next 11 away from the perpetually sold-out MTS Centre.
19-year-old standout Alexander Burmistrov made a heads-up pass 15 minutes in, finding Dustin Byfuglien on the point. Big Buff’s slapper from 64-feet out put the heat on Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson early as the Jets lead 1-0 after 20. Two consecutive Winnipeg penalties early in the second gave the Senators four-minutes of near-continuous power-play time, and they took advantage. Milan Michalek banged home a second rebound opportunity to tie the game 1-1 at 4:48.
The Senators line of Michalek, Jason Spezza, and Colin Greening struck again eight minutes later, giving Ottawa a 2-1 lead heading into the third. They finished the night with a combined eight points.
Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec started the third with a huge save on this year’s speedy sixth-overall draft pick Mika Zibanejad. Pavelec stopped 26-of-29 Ottawa shots in 56:23 of work. A Johnny Oduya turnover in the Winnipeg zone midway through the third gave Daniel Alfredsson an easy path to the net, and he made no mistake while netting his third of the year.
Trailing by two, Jets head coach Claude Noel made a gutsy move on the power play with five-minutes remaining in regulation by pulling Pavelec for a sixth attacker. However, Winnipeg couldn’t capitalize on the two-minute, six-on-four advantage.
With the Jets net empty again, Michalek buried his second on the night and fifth of the year with 40 ticks remaining.
Winnipeg now heads home for a pair against the Hurricanes and Rangers on Saturday and Monday before heading out on a seven-game, 13-day road swing through the states of Florida, New York, and New Jersey.
* Craig Anderson
** Milan Michalek
*** Jason Spezza
(Darrin is a local Winnipeg writer and journalist)