BOSTON — We’ve heard plenty about playing the right way from the Winnipeg Jets.
Talking and doing have been hard to match up and in case the Jets needed some visual, the Boston Bruins showed them just how on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
The Bruins played a fairly caffeinated style — hustling, being intensely alert and pressing the action at almost every turn — and cruised to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Jets before 17,565 approving fans.
"They’re obviously a tough team to play against but when you give them too much respect and you don’t forecheck, what are you going to do?" said Jets left-winger Evander Kane after the team dropped another road game to fall to 9-12-1 away from the MTS Centre. "You’re not going to win the game.
"They do things really well. They know where they’re going to be and they’ve played together for a long time. That’s the way hockey should be played, in my opinion."
Kane did not think the Jets hit the Bruins near enough.
"In terms of body contact, we didn’t have very much," he said. "That’s another thing in Boston, you’ve got to have some body contact."
The Jets had it in the first period, when the game was 1-1, but it waned after that.
"I don’t know about the hit part of it; I don’t think we played hard enough against that team," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "It’s a team we knew was a heavy team and you can see why.
"You just watch them drive the net, go to the net, and there’s a real sense of urgency and purpose. And I didn’t think we did enough of that, our whole group."
Margin for error
Against elite NHL teams, it is small.
Today, you could see which way this game was going when Kane hit a post, Eric Tangradi missed on an open net and Michael Frolik did both on the same shift.
And factor in 36 sharp saves by goalie Tuukka Rask, and that’s why the Bruins are now 28-12-2.
"We didn’t have a bad start, a couple of fights and the first goal, but after that.... They are good on the rush and they drive the net with two guys and then three guys and they’re hitting the late people," said Jets right-winger Michael Frolik. "When it was 3-1, if we could have scored the second goal, it could be different. I hit the post there and then on the rebound had the open net and just didn’t bury that. Could be a different game from that point."
When the stated priority is to be better defensively, consecutive road games in which the opposition scores four times is not the right direction.
"You can’t give up four goals in this league and expect to win," Noel said. "You have to defend, that’s the bottom line. I don’t care who you play. You’re going to have to check better and prevent goals from going in and play the low-scoring game... especially after Christmas."
Now it gets tough
With the Jets 0-3-1 in the back end of back-to-back assignments, and their recent history of giving up goals and games in Pittsburgh, Sunday’s assignment against the Penguins looks to be massive.
"We knew the trip was going to be a tough trip... because you’ve got two division leaders," Noel said. "We’ll treat tomorrow just like we would any other game. We know that they play with speed and in Pittsburgh we’re going to have to be ready to go."