The Jets allowed a goal with just over 20 seconds remaining to lose 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 Saturday night at Honda Center.
"It's always tough to lose," Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec said. "It doesn't matter how well you play. It's tough to lose in the third period again — two in a row right now."
Coach Paul Maurice couldn't explain or defend his team's third-period play so far this series. All he could point to was a costly penalty on Andrew Ladd and not being as strong with the puck as necessary.
Jakob Silfverberg scored the winner in the game's final minute after Patrick Maroon scored on the power play earlier in the third. Frederik Andersen stopped 28 shots for the win.
"I don't think our team quits," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Neither does theirs, but that's why you can score goals because we didn't quit."
Pavelec did his best to will his team to a victory, making 37 saves including many spectacular ones.
"He's the main reason why we're in the playoffs and he stood tall tonight," said defenceman Adam Pardy, who scored the Jets' only goal on a wraparound. "He's playing really well, and that's what we need out of him."
The series returns to Winnipeg for Game 3 Monday night at MTS Centre.
Silfverberg's goal completed the comeback, but the genesis of the Jets falling apart was Ladd's high-sticking penalty at the 9:45 mark of the third. It was the captain's second penalty of the game and gave Anaheim the life it needed.
"We put them on the power play late in the third," Pavelec said. "You've got to be smarter than that."
With Ladd in the box, Cam Fowler's shot went through traffic and off Maroon and in. It was the Ducks' third power-play goal in the series after not scoring one since March 24.
Maurice hadn't seen a replay of the penalty but said: "It's a puck in your net in a tight game, so it's an important part of the game." From that point on, the Jets were just trying to fend off the Ducks' onslaught.
"I guess after that you're kind of in overtime at that point," Pardy said. "You get that feeling in the rink and on the bench that you've got to get that next one, and they were able to pull it off."
Silfverberg collected the puck behind the net and found open space to beat Pavelec and send the Jets home lamenting another loss in a tight game.
"I liked our game, I really did," winger Blake Wheeler said. "They found a way to score one more goal than we did."
As much as there was to like, the fact remains that the Jets are down in the series after two games on the road. Their climb to a series win is much more difficult now.
"They've got to win two more, we've got to win four more," Ladd said. "So a little steeper than theirs, but there's a long way to go."
Notes — Mathieu Perreault returned after missing Game 1 with a lower-body injury and assisted on Pardy's goal. Perreault briefly left the game after being shoved into the net but returned. ... Pardy's goal was his first since Jan. 26, 2011, his first with the Jets and first in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
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