The Winnipeg Jets are floundering in the early stages of a five-game homestand.
Looking dazed and confused against a relentless forecheck by the Arizona Coyotes for 40 minutes, the Jets recovered with a heavy push in the third period but, ultimately, fell for the second time in three nights, suffering a 4-2 decision at the hands of the Pacific Division squad.
They Jets fell 7-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night.
Two power-play goals in just over two minutes in the second period sparked the Coyotes (2-2-1) and wounded the Jets (4-4-0), whose collective confidence looks shaky.
Christian Dvorak snapped a 1-1 tie with his first goal of the year at 5:11 of the middle frame with Jets’ blue-liner Dmitry Kulikov serving a high-sticking minor. Just 14 seconds later, Mark Scheifle was called for slashing, and Nick Schmaltz whipped a point shot past goalie Connor Hellebuyck to inflate the Arizona cushion. Dvorak added his second goal with just under three minutes left in the period.
Scheifele, with his fourth goal of the season, and winger Kyle Connor, with his third, scored on the power play.
Winnipeg’s top centre cashed in on a setup that was tried-and-true a year ago. Stationed at the left dot, Patrik Laine hammered a one-timer off a pass from Josh Morrissey and rattled the iron but Scheifele knocked in the rebound at 7:35.
The hosts let their guard down with time winding down in the opening period. Nikolaj Ehlers failed to push the puck deep and the Coyotes rushed the other way, Conor Garland bumped Scheifele off the puck deep in the Jets end, headed straight for the net and twisted to tip an Oliver Ekman-Larsson point shot to the top mesh behind Hellebuyck with eight seconds left.
Down 4-1, the Jets mounted a slight comeback in the final frame when Connor flipped a rebound behind goalie Darcy Kuemper with Garland serving a double-minor for a high stick that nicked Laine.
Kuemper had a strong night, finishing with 38 saves, while Hellebuyck made 31 stops.
The Coyotes clicked on both man-advantage chances, while the Jets were two-for-six on the power play.
The Jets host the New York Islanders on Thursday night, welcome the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday and meet the L.A. Kings next Tuesday.
Assistant sports editor
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).
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