The Jets are a conundrum. They’ve been playing bad hockey again and lost two rough games in a weekend back-to-back series. Tonight, they got to face the Washington Capitals, another team that’s both very talented and struggling mightily. Sound familiar? All that said, I had this game penciled in as a loss. After all, I don’t think the Jets have ever won a game in the capital of the U.S. Would tonight be any different?
Early indications were that this was going into the loss column. Winnipeg’s defense conceded an ugly early goal to Alex Ovechkin, career goal 701. At least it wasn’t a milestone! Things didn’t really improve, with the Jets blueline and second line both getting burned on Patrik Laine’s attempt to do it all on his own in the offensive zone. Jakub Vrana grabbed the puck, sped down the ice, made our defensemen look like peewee players, and put the Caps up 2-0.
Things didn’t get a whole lot better in the second period, but it did seem like the Jets started skating a bit more. They put a few additional shots on goal and tried to create some pressure, but ended up conceding a third goal to Garnet Hathaway for their efforts. All looked pretty much lost, until Cody Eakin fired a shot that seemed to catch Holtby unawares. The puck was just sitting there for Nikolaj Ehlers to deposit, and the second period ended with a small sign of life.
That sign of life initially looked to be deadened in the opening of the third period, with the Jets still looking like the weaker squad. The Caps then had a weird blueline fumble towards the midway point of the period and Kyle Connor actually sped away on a solo effort. This time, he did not miss. A few minutes later, Mark Scheifele had a similar solo effort while being harassed by Dmitry Orlov. In the chaos of Scheifele falling and Orlov kicking the area near Holtby, the puck wormed its way into the net and the Jets were, unbelievably, tied.
Overtime was not enough to settle things, despite some fun end-to-end opportunities for both squads. The Jets even got weird and had 3 forwards out for some shifts. I imagine Maurice did this more out of necessity than anything. Things went to a shootout and neither team got terribly many saves. Ultimately, the game-losing attempt was the funniest, worst slapshot shootout attempt I’ve ever seen off the stick of Ehlers. A fitting end to a bizarre, stupid, and hilarious game.