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|7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET3:00 GMT11:00 8:00 PM MST10:00 PM EST7:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET0:00 BRT, February 22, 2019
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada Attendance: 18,280
Jets, Knights seek rebounds with home stretch in sight
As NHL teams approach the three-quarter pole of their seasons, they're looking hit their stride for the homestretch.
It appears the Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights might need to take to the whip.
The teams, who will meet Friday night in Las Vegas, are both solidly in the playoff race, but haven't been playing their best recently.
The Central Division-leading Jets (36-20-4, 76 points) are 2-4-2 in their past eight games, including an embarrassing 7-1 defeat Wednesday night at Colorado in the opener of a three-game trip.
"You know what, fellas, you're not getting much from me tonight," Jets coach Paul Maurice told reporters after the game. "We weren't very good. We weren't very good. I'll fix it tomorrow. You guys have a wonderful day."
Jets forward Adam Lowry called the effort "unacceptable."
"We were terrible," Lowry told NHL.com. "I'm surprised. We knew they'd be hungry. They're fighting for a playoff spot. I guess we're fat and comfortable where we're at, because the effort wasn't there."
Forward Blake Wheeler, the Jets' captain, also questioned the team's effort.
"It looked like we kind of gave up, so that's disappointing," Wheeler told NHL.com. "Even when we were out of the playoffs (in previous seasons) and there was nothing to play for, we had a group that played hard. We didn't do that tonight.
"It's a good time for an awakening. If we have a bunch of guys that want to look in the mirror instead of point fingers, we'll be alright."
The Jets played without standout defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for the second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury, and he'll miss at least the rest of the road trip.
The Golden Knights (32-25-5, 69 points) are 3-8-1 over the past month, during which they've been outscored 40-27. They have won just one of their past seven home games (1-5-1) after dropping a 3-2 decision to Boston in a shootout Wednesday night.
Vegas coach Gerard Gallant did see plenty of positives against Boston, as the Golden Knights twice rallied from a one-goal deficit. But they were unable to score on a power play in overtime after the Bruins were whistled for too many men on the ice.
"We got one point and played a great game," Gallant said. "I'm tired of saying the (other team's) goalie was the first star, but (Boston's Jaroslav Halak) played great, and we hit a couple posts. I think if we played the game over, we'd probably win it.
"But it was a great hockey game. I thought it was a playoff atmosphere against a great team. Were we disappointed we didn't get two points? Definitely. But I'm not going to fault our group for that effort. They played real well and worked hard. They did exactly what I wanted."
Reilly Smith and Nate Schmidt scored for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves. Fleury has lost four in a row and seven of his past nine starts, allowing 19 goals over his past five.
"There's no such thing as a good loss, right? But at the same time, I thought our guys played hard tonight," Schmidt told NHL.com. "I wish the game would have kept going. It was one of those nights."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 21, 2019