Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets Miss Playoffs, Drop Last Game 4-2 to Montreal Canadiens

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets Miss Playoffs, Drop Last Game 4-2 to Montreal Canadiens

Article excerpt

Jets out of playoffs, bow 4-2 to Montreal

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WINNIPEG - A dejected Blake Wheeler looked like the Winnipeg Jets felt.

The Jets' playoff chances evaporated even before their 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Winnipeg finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, one spot out of the playoffs and better than last season, but Wheeler took little comfort in the improvement.

"I'm going to have a hard time drawing on any positives you know, when you're going home and watching the important hockey being played from your couch again," he said.

"Hopefully we can all look in the mirror and make a change, I think we're on the right path, but ninth place is a first-class ticket home."

The Jets were ahead 2-1 as they started the third period but most already knew their result wouldn't be enough to advance.

"We knew after the second we are out," said goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.

"It's not an excuse at all but it's tough to play when you know you've got 20 minutes left in the season."

Both the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators moved out of reach with overtime wins Thursday night that kept them firmly in the last playoff spots in the East.

David Desharnais, Rene Bourque, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty scored as the Canadiens (28-14-5) broke out of a slump that had seen them lose five of their previous six games.

James Wright and Wheeler scored for the Jets, who finished the season 24-21-3.

Montreal's win keeps them in the hunt for the top spot in the Northeast Division where they remain tied with Boston.

But it already guarantees them at least fourth in the East and home-ice advantage in the playoffs, with 61 points to Toronto's 57.

"It's a big win against a desperate team," said Montreal captain Brian Gionta.

"It's huge. Home ice is really big in the playoffs. . . . You keep forcing plays, you keep being relentless on the puck, eventually they're going to turn it over and they're going to get tired and we took advantage in the third."

Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, who had two assists Thursday night, echoed his captain. …

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