Washington Capitals 4, Winnipeg Jets 0 – The Jets have been shut out twice this season, both times at home and both times by Braden Holtby. "They were playing chess and we were playing checkers," said a dejected Coach Claude Noel in his post-game news conference.
Earlier in the day Coach Noel talked about what his team needed to do against the Capitals, including not taking them lightly, not turning pucks over, getting pucks in behind the defence, battle for pucks, put pucks and traffic to the net, etc.
Now, give the Caps credit. They talked about having to show some desperation in their game because two losses and their playoff chances would be slim. Now the teams get to do it all over again Friday night at the MTS Centre (TSN 1290, 6pm ct game time).
The Jets caught a break on the out of town scoreboard with Carolina losing at home, leaving the Jets two points up for top spot in the Southeast Division. Washington is now seven back of the Jets and will be looking to make it a five-point difference with another win.
Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson scored in the first, the second was scoreless, Alex Ovechkin (PP) and Nicklas Backstrom scored in the third, and Holtby made 19 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Holtby's best save came midway through the third off Antti Miettinen on a two-on-one that would have made it a 2-1 game. Ovechkin also had two assists.
Jets had more focus in the second but still managed only four shots on goal. In the last 17 games the team is 11-5-1 and 6-2-1 in the last nine, but it's the 7-7 home record that is difficult to understand.
"How many "A" games were there?" questioned Coach Noel. "We couldn't make a pass, couldn't make a play, spent too much time in our own zone and when we got it out we were tired and needed a change. Players aren't happy either. Think they enjoy playing like this, no. We'll find a solution and go back at them again."
Andrew Ladd had his point streak snapped at five (1-5-6). Evander Kane, who leads the NHL in shots, did not register a shot on goal. Jets lost Mark Stuart in the game on an Ovechkin hit. His status for Friday is uncertain. Toby Enstrom is close to being ready to return, but if Stuart can't go, Paul Postma and Arturs Kulda were both healthy scratches.