After losing 4-0 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, it was hard to believe the Winnipeg Jets could be worse on Friday. Hard to believe perhaps, but worse nonetheless.
Friday night, Alexander Ovechkin scored twice and Braden Holtby made 31 saves as the Washington Capitals drilled the Jets 6-1. It was as ugly as the score would indicate. The Jets had no legs in the first two periods, fell behind 5-0 early in the third and didn’t really muster any kind of offence against a team that came to Winnipeg nine points behind the Jets and will leave only five back.
Brooks Laich, Todd Brouwer, Jay Beagle and Mike Green scored the other Washington goals. Mike Ribeiro and Marcus Johansson each had two assists.
Dustin Byfuglien scored his fifth of the year from Grant Clitsome and Andrew Ladd with the score 5-0. That was Winnipeg’s only goal and the only goal the Jets have scored in the last nine periods at home against Washington. During that stretch the Jets have been outscored 13-1 by the Caps.
Despite the loss, the Jets will remain in first place in the Southeast Division and third overall in the Eastern Conference with 34 points. However, the second-place Carolina Hurricanes are just two points back with two games in hand. Thanks to the win, combined with their 4-0 victory on Thursday, the Capitals slipped by Tampa Bay, Buffalo and the New York Islanders into 10th place in the East — three points behind eighth-place Carolina.
It was just an ugly night in Winnipeg. So ugly that Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec got the hook at the 5:50 mark of the second period when Beagle’s shot eluded the Jets starter. Al Montoya replaced Pavelec and gave up a goal on the first shot he faced, a frozen rope from just inside the blueline that went over Montoya’s shoulder.
Meanwhile, Winnipeg was horrendous on the power play and it’s painfully obvious that as long as Olli Jokinen is a key player when the Jets have the man advantage, the Jets will struggle. The Capitals came into the game with the 29th ranked power play in the NHL and held the Jets to an 0-for-5 night as Jokinen stumbled around, unable to get the puck out of his own end and often unable to even shoot it out of his own end.
Jets head coach Claude Noel seems to have destroyed the confidence of Alexander Burmistrov, a talented but erratic player he benched a week ago. However, you can understand why Burmistrov might be confused. While Burmistrov had three goals and four assists when he was benched, he was a plus-five. Jokinen (who had seven points and was a minus-11 when Burmistrov was benched), now has five goals and four assists and is minus-15, the worst plus-minus on the team.
The Jets, who have lost three of four games, have Saturday off and will face Tampa Bay Sunday at 7 p.m. at MTS Centre as they wrap up a four-game homestand.
(All Photos by Shawn Coates)