Jets win rarely seemed in doubt
Ted Wyman, QMI Agency
|Ondrej Pavelec had 31 saves and played like an all-star in the Jets dominant 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals. (MARIANNE HELM/AFP Getty Images)
WINNIPEG - The fans stood and roared for the final minute, recognizing the Jets for their second consecutive dominant performance and their most complete game of the NHL season.
The Jets were the better team in all areas — even strength, power play, penalty killing and goaltending — as they skated to a convincing 4-1 victory over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
They picked up exactly where they left off in Monday’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, using a terrific second period to establish a three-goal lead and giving the fans few nervous moments in an uneventful third.
At no point did it look like the Jets were going to lose the game, with the forwards skating and hitting hard, the defencemen being responsible and Ondrej Pavelec playing like an all-star.
There’s good reason for Jets fans to be hopeful about the immediate and long-term future of this team if they keep putting in performances like that.
It was Dustin Byfuglien in a nutshell: He made a tremendous solo rush, worked his way past Caps defenceman Roman Hamrlik and got in alone to get a good shot off on goalie Michal Neuwirth. Moments later he got caught out of position in the neutral zone, allowing Ovechkin to break in on a two-on-one and set up a great scoring chance for Troy Brouwer, which was foiled by a great save from Jets goalie Pavelec ... Pavelec plays a very aggressive style and it backfired on him when Alexander Semin recognized how far out Pavelec was and easily went around him to score. It’s a bit of a high-risk, high-reward style for Pavelec and, for the most part, it has been successful. When it’s the only goal he gives up on the night, he can easily be forgiven ... Semin’s goal came on a 3-on-2 that was almost certainly offside ... Fantastic work by the line of Bryan Little, Alex Burmistrov and Evander Kane to get the Jets on the board. They had the Caps hemmed in their own zone when Little caused a turnover with strong forechecking. Burmistrov won a battle along the boards to get the puck to Kane, who potted it for his seventh of the season ... It was the third time this season Kane has scored the first goal of the game for the Jets ... Burmistrov saved a goal later in the first, banging it away from Marcus Johansson, who was staring at a wide-open net. Burmistrov’s defensive positioning continues to be exceptional.
The Jets had one of their best periods of the year. Their power play and penalty killing were exceptional and they won the game right there ... Great job by Kyle Wellwood to take puck away from Joel Ward in the corner and get the puck to Kane, who went upstairs for the Jets second goal. It would be fair to say, Kane is really starting blossom. It was his sixth career two-goal game, but he has yet to record a hat trick ... The Jets got a break when Brooks Laich shot over the net on a 2-on-0 break and right after that Blake Wheeler used his great speed to win a loose puck cut toward the net and slip his first of the year past Neuvirth. “It was a little bit of a shock to be honest,” the obviously relieved Wheeler told TSN Jets ... Wheeler of Fortune? Caps season ticket holder and game show host Pat Sajak was spotted in the crowd ... Funny comment by TSN Jets colour man Brian Engblom: “Did you see that invisible gorilla get off (Wheeler’s) back?” Well, no, we didn’t. Because it was invisible ... Tim Stapleton made a nice play at the line to keep the puck in, Andrew Ladd a nice little pass and Wellwood finished as the Jets got their second power play goal of the period. The Jets special teams have been greatly improved in recent games ... The Jets were two-men short in the second period again. That’s 10 times this season. Crazy.
The Capitals looked tired and beaten and didn’t offer much of a comeback ... Pavelec made more great saves and the Jets paid great attention to detail in the defensive zone.
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau says his team is proof that there is a fine line between the so-called good teams and the so-called bad ones in the NHL these days. The Caps went 7-0 to start the season and are 3-6-1 since then. “It’s getting way more balanced than it has been in the past and that’s why the teams and the points are so close together this year.” Sounds like a well-spoken way of saying any team can beat any other team on any given night, an old adage the Jets must embrace in order to improve on their slow start to the season ... It wasn’t long ago that Ovechkin was a lock to be a front-runner for the Art Ross and Maurice Richard Trophies every year, but he’s not the same offensive dynamo he once was. There’s a good reason for that and Boudreau explained it Thursday. “He’s evolved a lot, as the team has,” Boudreau said of Ovechkin, who has seven goals and seven assists this season. “He’s not going to get a 65-70 goal season. His numbers are down because we play a four-line game. His ice-time has gone from 22 minutes to 17 minutes but he does everything we ask him to.”