The Winnipeg Jets will try to snap out of their midseason funk Monday when they host the slumping St. Louis Blues in their final game before the All-Star break.
“We haven’t loved our last few games and we’ve got one left going into the break,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said after his team’s 4-0 loss at home to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. “It feels like the sky is falling a bit, but we’re still in a good spot.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the effort, disappointed with the outcome, three games in a row that we’ve kind of let slip away. You’re going to want to stop this slide as soon as we can.”
The Jets have lost three straight games and five of their last seven heading into Monday’s contest.
“There is a price to pay in this league,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “You have to work, you have to compete, and you have to do it every night. As the season progresses, it gets harder.
“Right now, you’re seeing what we’re seeing, as soon as there is a little adversity — we handled it well early in the year — we’re not handling it well right now. We had some guys that clearly didn’t want to play tonight. The difference makers, you can’t even find them out there. Until we make that commitment again to play as a team and we want to win, this is what you get.”
Bowness pulled goaltender Connor Hellebuyck from the game hoping to spark a turnaround, but it didn’t work. Restless Jets fans booed their team’s effort.
“I’m surprised there weren’t more boos. I am,” Bowness said. “We’re still fighting for first place. Now we’ve gotta turn this around, clearly. We get that game on Monday night, we’ll be okay. But regardless of the outcome of that game on Monday night, we need a 60-minute effort. That’s all the fans want to see, is a 60-minute effort.”
The Blues have lost four consecutive games and six of their past eight while fading from the Western Conference playoff race. They fell 4-2 to the host Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
“Big picture, it’s frustrating,” Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington said. “Those are games at a critical time in our season that we want to win. We know we need the points. We just gotta keep finding a way. Fighting every night. Because we’re not gonna go quietly.”
The Blues got defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off the injured list Saturday after a nine-game absence. But center Robert Thomas missed the game at Colorado after absorbing a slap shot in the groin area on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes.
He is questionable against the Jets. The Blues also have scoring line forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Pavel Buchnevich out with lower-body injuries.
Noel Acciari centered a scoring line in Thomas’ absence and Nikita Alexandrov arrived from the AHL to fill in on the fourth line.
After falling behind 3-0 at Colorado, the Blues rallied within one goal before allowing an empty-netter with three seconds left.
“We were in the game and that’s important,” Binnington said. “If that’s how we’re gonna lose — by playing hard and doing the right things — and it doesn’t go our way, so be it. But we have to do everything in our power to find a way to win. Hopefully, we can bring this with us going into the last game before the bye week. Just put it all out there and regroup.”
–Field Level Media