Jets fall 3-0 to Caps on Saturday afternoon

- March 2nd, 2013

The Winnipeg Jets saw their brief, two-game homestand end with a thud, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon at MTS Centre.

It was the first time the Jets have been shutout this season.

With the loss, the Jets split their homestand and dropped to 10-10-1 overall, sliding below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference standings.

One of the few highlights for the hometown crowd was a second-period fight between Anthony Peluso and former Manitoba Moose winger Aaron Volpatti.

Peluso showed once again that he’s a tough customer, but he also suffered a hand injury in the process of winning the fight, likely a broken hand as Jets head coach Claude Noel said he was going to be week-to-week and not day-to-day.

Earlier in the game, Jets forward Evander Kane actually took a puck in the throat, but he didn’t miss a shift and said he was fine when he spoke to reporters afterward.

“In my mind, it’s a game we definitely should have won. We had an opportunity to win both at home. Early on, we outshot them and had a really good period and we weren’t able to get a goal. When you’re the home team, you don’t want to let a road team off the hook and I thought we did that, especially going into the second period. We got behind. In terms of the third period, it was just some breakdowns defensively and the puck is in the back of our net,” said Kane.

With the game 1-0, Caps centre Nicklas Backstrom beat Jim Slater on a draw right to Troy Brouwer and Brouwer’s short changed direction off Chris Thorburn and beat Ondrej Pavelec.

Less than a minute later (52 seconds, to be exact), the Caps caught a break when Ron Hainsey fell down trying to knock a puck out of the air, allowing Alex Ovechkin to walk in alone. Although Ondrej Pavelec made the initial save, Mike Ribeiro was there to pounce on the rebound.

“We just should have went out to the player. Should have just moved four feet, and we’d have been right on top of it. That would have been a better play,” said Noel.

The Jets had another injury concern as Blake Wheeler blocked a heavy shot from Caps D-man John Erskine during the second period.

Wheeler went down hard and the Caps actually scored on the play, breaking the scoreless game as Erskine found Mike Ribeiro down low and the crafty centre found Matt Hendricks in front for a nifty redirection at 10:56 of the second.

Although Wheeler wasn’t available to reporters after the game (likely receiving treatment), his teammates were impressed by his ability to battle through the pain.

“It was great. A lot of our forwards, the last couple games have been blocking a lot of shots and Blake has been one of those guys. He took a hard one there and for the amount of pain he was in, for him to come back was very respectable. I thought he skated well and played well too,” said Stuart.

When I asked Noel about Wheeler’s status, he figured his speedy right-winger would be fine. He later admitted he had some concerns when Wheeler went down initially.

“I think he’s OK. He got a shot at the side of his leg. He has probably a heavy-duty bone contusion, but I don’t know exactly, yet,” said Noel. “I was probably thinking like 15,000 other people. It looked like he was in pain. But nothing more than that. I was hoping they wouldn’t score, because now they were on the power play. And they did.”

Speaking of Stuart, he had a good battle going with Ovechkin at various points, but he was hit with a double minor late in the third — two for cross-checking and two for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“I’ve got to keep my mouth shut there. I thought it was two guys pushing and shoving after. I was a little surprised to get the first penalty. After I got the first one, that’s my fault. I’ve just got to go to the box and not say anything,” said Stuart, when asked for his take on the end result.

Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian lost his cool a bit during the third period after Caps forward Mathieu Perreault slashed him in the back of the leg when he wasn’t looking. Bogosian hit Perreault in the corner with a hard check and Perreault clearly retaliated.

Did Bogosian consider not responding to Perreault after the slash?

“No, I hit him in the corner, I thought it was clean and he decided to slash me in the back of the legs. I don’t want to get pushed around out there and obviously, it was a point where it was 3-0. So, why not?”

I also asked Bogosian if he thought the slash was a cheap shot?

“Well, I definitely felt it but it’s part of the game,” he said.

Winkler product and former Jet Eric Fehr had an assist in the game and finished plus-2, taking 22 shifts for 19:26, playing on the Caps second line.

The Jets are back in action on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers in a game that opens a four-game road trip.

“We’re certainly not going into Florida bowing our heads down and thinking this is difficult. We lost a game,” said Noel. “We’re turning the page. We’re going into Florida to win all the games. And score 45,000 power play goals.”

Sports editor Ted Wyman is taking that trip and I’m off to Arizona for a quick holiday that will include some spring training baseball and the World Baseball Classic.

I’ll be back in action on the Jets beat starting Mar. 13 when I tee up the Jets and New York Rangers.

Stay tuned for posts from Ted and Kirk Penton though.

Categories: Hockey

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