You can’t win ’em all, but you won’t win any of them if you play without any jump at all.
Last night the Winnipeg Jets were flatter than a pancake and were beaten easily by the visiting Washington Capitals in front of 15,004 at MTS Centre.
Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists, Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist and Braden Holtby made 19 saves to get the shutout as the Caps whipped the Jets 4-0. It was the lowest shot total of the year by the Jets as Holtby got his second straight shutout at MTS Centre.
The less said about this one the better. The Jets were so lethargic that this game was over right after the national anthems. The Jets had no legs and even less passion.
“We need to play better,” said an angry head coach Claude Noel. “They’re playing chess, we’re playing checkers. You look at the whole thing, we didn’t play very well. We couldn’t make a pass, couldn’t make a play. We didn’t have any energy when we got into the opposing zone. It drives coaches crazy.”
With the loss, the Jets fall to 16-13-2 on the season as the Caps improved to 13-16-1 and moved to within seven points of the Jets in the Southeast Division. The only good news on the night was that Carolina lost to the New Jersey Devils so the Jets remain in first place in the Southeast Division, third ion the Eastern Conference. Amazingly, in the Devils-Hurricanes game, New Jersey’s veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur was given credit for scoring the first goal of the game. He became the first goaltender in NHL history to score two goals in a career.
At MTS Centre on Thursday night, Holtby was clearly the first star, but Ovechkin was brilliant as well. He scored a goal in his third straight game and now has 74 points in 51 games against the Thrashers/Jets franchise.
“I think it’s sort of obvious that we didn’t come out with enough emotion and intensity right off the bat against a Washington club that is desperate right now,” said Winnipeg product Derek Meech of the Jets. “We’re going to try to work on that overnight here. We’ll go get some rest tonight and come out tomorrow with a different attitude and more intensity that’s for sure.
“We didn’t have much push back. We get these power play opportunities and we have to do something with them. Tomorrow night, we have to play with a lot more intensity and pressure them in their own end.”
With the loss, the Jets fell to 7-7-0 at home this season. That’s a number that just won’t cut it.
“We have to be better tomorrow,” said Meech. “We have to come out tomorrow with a pissed-off attitude.”
Bad news for the Jets: Defenseman Mark Stuart was hit hard by Ovechkin in the second period, went to the locker room, and didn’t return. He has been listed as day-to-day.
Friday it’s the Jets and Caps in the re-match at 6 p.m. on CBC TV. On Sunday, Winnipeg will wrap up this four-game homestand against Tampa, 7 p.m. on TSN Jets TV.
(All Photos by Shawn Coates)