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Jets studied for wrong exam

On the upside, they were quick on their feet, but still got Capped

Posted: 10/23/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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This was kind of like studying for your geography exam and arriving to find today's subject is actually math.

The Winnipeg Jets, trying to find their legs in their new home in the Central Division of the Western Conference, have had all kinds of issues trying to develop a sounder game.

The angst has been high, the criticism sharp.

So they studied hard for a few days and then along came the Washington Capitals from their old Eastern Conference neighbourhood, bringing with them the good ol' pond-hockey game.

On this test, the Jets were quick enough on their feet and scored a solid B in a 5-4 shootout loss, the point and the performance a big improvement on some of their efforts in the 2-3-1 homestand.

"I'm not a fan of usually saying that, but I think in this case, we can (like the way we played), especially coming off the game (against) Nashville," said Jets left-winger Evander Kane. "It's nice to get opportunities and create. I think we just have to tighten up defensively and get some breaks and we'll win some hockey games.

"They're a dangerous team. They can create offence."

The white-knuckle, end-to-end night finished with the Caps scoring four straight shootout goals in six rounds of penalty shots, the killer by Martin Erat, offsetting three straight by the Jets and their final-attempt miss by Kane.

"I thought we skated and tried to be physical," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said. "To me, that means we're engaged in the game and ready to go."

Winnipeg rallied three times from behind, refusing to let the whiz kids just run away. Bryan Little's second score of the game eventually tied it in the third period.

"I think this was a step in the right direction," Jets defenceman Grant Clitsome said. "We always come with the goal of getting two points, but we battled hard tonight, played physical and battled back in the game. That shows a lot from our team."

"We got some better play," Jets coach Claude Noel said.

And now the Jets should be prepared for that geography exam.

SO, TO THE ROAD: After the season's longest homestand, Winnipeg swings out for four games through the Central, starting Thursday in Nashville and moving on to Dallas, Colorado and St. Louis.

The Jets are 1-1 this season away from home, having played the most home games in the NHL so far.

NOT THE WEST: This was not the way the Jets have found their new home in the Western Conference and Central Division.

The Caps and their high skill and fly-the-zone style made for more run-and-gun hockey than the normal Central clampdown.

Did it help?

"I don't thing we look at Eastern Conference and Western types of games," said Noel. "We look at the opponent and say, 'How are we going to beat this team?'

"It turned out to be a little bit of a trading-chances thing. but they're a dangerous opponent. I thought we did the necessary things. You have an opponent and you play the way you need to play to win."

WHEELER STRIKE: BLAKE , Blake Wheeler, who has clearly been in a funk, scored his second goal of the season.

He looked wound up about his goal, a late-second-period deflection into just the right hole through Caps goalie Braden Holtby, tying the game 3-3.

"Shootout losses are tough, but I think the positives greatly outweighed the negatives tonight," Wheeler said. "We were kind of looking a little bit lost there for a while, but we had a lot of jam tonight.

"We played a good game. A couple of mistakes ended up in our net, but the body of work was more of what we were looking for.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

-- with files from Gary Lawless

 

more coverage C3

  • Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby makes a save on a close-in scoring chance by Winnipeg Jets forward Michael Frolik during first-period NHL action at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg Tuesday.

    JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby makes a save on a close-in scoring chance by Winnipeg Jets forward Michael Frolik during first-period NHL action at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg Tuesday.

  • Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stops a shot by Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane in the first period.

    TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stops a shot by Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane in the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets forward Anthony Peluso misses this opportunity to score on Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the first period.

    JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets forward Anthony Peluso misses this opportunity to score on Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Patrice Cormier (28) and Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson mix it up during the first period.

    WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Patrice Cormier (28) and Washington Capitals' Tom Wilson mix it up during the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets defenceman Adam Pardy checks Washington Capitals forward Steve Oleksy during the first period.

    JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets defenceman Adam Pardy checks Washington Capitals forward Steve Oleksy during the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec makes a save against the  Washington Capitals.

    JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec makes a save against the Washington Capitals.

  • Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler misses this opportunity to score on Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby as Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner defends.

    JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler misses this opportunity to score on Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby as Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner defends.

  • Winnipeg Jets players Michael Frolik (67) and Dustin Byfuglien are sandwiched between Washington Capitals players Troy Brouwer (20) and Alex Ovechkin in front of goaltender Braden Holtby during the first period.

    TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets players Michael Frolik (67) and Dustin Byfuglien are sandwiched between Washington Capitals players Troy Brouwer (20) and Alex Ovechkin in front of goaltender Braden Holtby during the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane mixes it up with Washington Capitals' John Carlson.

    TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane mixes it up with Washington Capitals' John Carlson.

  • Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr lays the lumber on Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele in front of the Capitals bench during the first period.

    CP

    Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr lays the lumber on Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele in front of the Capitals bench during the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec makes a glove save on Washington Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom as Jets defenceman Grant Clitsome closes in.

    TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec makes a glove save on Washington Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom as Jets defenceman Grant Clitsome closes in.

  • Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stops a shot by Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane in the first period.

    TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stops a shot by Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane in the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane collides with Washington Capitals' John Carlson during the first period.

    TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane collides with Washington Capitals' John Carlson during the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd (left) and teammate Bryan Little celebrate Little's goal against Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the second period.

    TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd (left) and teammate Bryan Little celebrate Little's goal against Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the second period.

  • Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd watches the puck beat Washington Capitals' goaltender Braden Holtby for a goal by Bryan Little in the second period.

    TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd watches the puck beat Washington Capitals' goaltender Braden Holtby for a goal by Bryan Little in the second period.

  • Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Ladd and Washington Capitals defenceman Mike Green watch as a shot from Jets forward Bryan Little's blasts past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the second period.

    JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Ladd and Washington Capitals defenceman Mike Green watch as a shot from Jets forward Bryan Little's blasts past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby during the second period.

  • Washington Capitals' Jason Chimera (benhind net) celebrates Mikhail Grabovski's goal against the Winnipeg Jets during second-period NHL action.

    JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Washington Capitals' Jason Chimera (benhind net) celebrates Mikhail Grabovski's goal against the Winnipeg Jets during second-period NHL action.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 23, 2013 C1

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