By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
A goal by Montreal Canadiens left winger Brandon Prust at the 2:06 mark of the first period proved to be all the Habs needed to put away a lacklustre Winnipeg Jets team on Tuesday night.
The Jets, who have been plagued by poor starts this season, couldn’t shake the disease tonight and feel behind early. Prust’s second goal of the year came after the Canadiens dominated puck possession early.
In fact, it took the Jets just under seven minutes to record a shot on Carey Price, who got his first shutout of the 2013-14 season.
More sloppy defensive play led to the inevitable with the Habs grabbing another marker before the period ended. P.K. Subban wired a one-timer on a perfectly placed pass from David Desharnais which beat Pavelec with ease.
“It was a tough game, a game we certainly didn’t have much control over right off the start,” bemoaned Jets head coach Claude Noel on the heels of his most recent loss. “Right off the start they were in our zone, pretty much from the faceoff on for the first six minutes-eight minutes.
“We chased the puck in our zone. They outshot us eight to nothing at one point. (They) got up early and we started to come around after the timeout a little bit more but really, we outshot them but I think that is a misjudgement of the way that we played…we struggled.”
The Jets were just 45-percent from the faceoff circle winning just 32-of-71 draws.
Mark Scheifele, who has been a bit of a ghostly figure out there for the past couple of games, said he and the team need to step it up if they want to have few nights like this.
“It’s our starts that have been a bit of our downfall lately and we know we have to step it up,” Scheifele said post-game. “We weren’t able to capitalize on our chances.”
The Jets did have chances in the game, easily winning the shots-on-goal battle 36-25. But most of those chances were without traffic in front of Carey Price, which very few troubled the Canadiens netminder on the night.
“Obviously we would like to have a couple of those in the back of the net,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd.
Multiplying the problems for Noel was the discipline of his players. The Jets took seven penalties tonight and the coach was none too pleased with them.
“I think the penalties, and you can argue all you want, but when you are reaching for people, whether you reaching with your hands or reaching with you stick, you are going to get called and we got called,” said Noel. “These are things we don’t need to do to create problems. You are taking you own momentum, if any, away. We did it a few times tonight.”
The Jets will have two days of practice before a tough divisional match up against the St. Louis Blues at the MTS Centre on Friday night.