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Swayman Solid as Bruins Shut Out Slumping Jets

Photos by Scott Stroh and James Carey Lauder

Swayman Solid as Bruins Shut Out Slumping Jets

The Boston Bruins are the NHL’s only 50-win team so far this season. And on Tuesday evening in Winnipeg, they needed just 50 seconds to pull off a wire-to-wire victory in a game to which it felt they hardly even lifted a finger.

It wasn’t a pretty content, nor an enjoyable one for the hot-and-cold Jets, who fell to 38-27-3 on the season with the 3-0 shutout loss to Boston. The home team couldn’t buy a goal, despite outshooting its Eastern Conference-leading guests.

“We have to put those pucks in the back of the net,” Jets’ head coach Rick Bowness said post-game. “The opportunities were there. Their goalie was really good. We didn’t capitalize on the chances they gave us. The worst thing you can do is fall behind 1-0 50 seconds in the game against a team that’s going to sit back. They have a big, mobile, physical defence. It’s hard to get to the net with those guys.”

Trent Frederic, Pavel Zacha and Tomas Nosek scored for the Bruins, while Jeremy Swayman picked up his third shutout of the season, as Boston bounced back following two uncharacteristic road losses to start their five-game trip.

After winning back-to-back games in Florida this past weekend, the Jets have now lost two-straight and will head back on the road for two Central Division matchups this weekend in Nashville and St. Louis.

“It’s really disappointing, we need these points,” Adam Lowry said. “They’re so critical right now and we’re almost scoreboard watching every night right now. So, it would have been nice to see a few of those go in… We hit some posts, we generated some real good looks and just couldn’t buy one tonight.”

It wasn’t an ideal first period for Winnipeg, despite seemingly decent play. It also didn’t help that the Jets once again gave up a goal on the first shot of the game.

It was quick mental lapse in coverage as three defenders went for one Bruin, Charlie Coyle, leaving Tyler Bertuzzi alone with the puck behind Connor Hellebuyck. As the defencemen shifted their attention to Boston’s trade deadline acquisition, he calmly dished it to a wide-open Trent Frederic. He put his 15th of the season past Hellebuyck just 50 seconds into the contest.

Boston got another one before the period came to a close, with Pavel Zacha firing a perfect wrister through Hellebuyck on a rush up ice. That second marker came with less than seven minutes remaining in the frame, to which the Jets managed to hold off any further goals against.

“Well, I was hoping it was going to go in,” Zacha laughed. “I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I was trying to shoot it hard. I was looking for Pasta in the beginning and they kind of took him away, so I decided to shoot it and it went it.”

In fact, Winnipeg actually played a better period than the Bruins, but were not rewarded on their opportunities. And it wasn’t like Jeremy Swayman played lights out in the net either, but the Jets just couldn’t’ find a way to score. He did have one spectacular save on Mark Scheifele, but the rest seemed rather routine.

Winnipeg outshot Boston 13-7 through 20 minutes, drew four penalties and controlled most of the play, but found itself down 2-0 with just two periods left to go.

Other than a number of near-misses from both teams, the middle stanza really didn’t provide much for either team. The Jets remained up top in the shots, finishing with 24 to Boston’s 15, but were still unable to find a goal. Winnipeg had another power play chance in the frame, but could not capitalize.

Boston had an early period power play to get another tally, but also failed to capitalize on the man advantage.

The most entertaining part of the frame was actually a minor crowd fight in section 119 during a television timeout.

Winnipeg did pull for the extra attacker, while taking a timeout in the later stages, but it was the Bruins who sealed the deal, as Tomas Nosek scored with just under six seconds left to finish off the 3-0 shutout.

Hellebuyck made 21 saves on 23 Bruins shots and saw his record fall to 29-21-2, while Swayman turned aside all 35 pucks, earning his third shutout of the season and improving his record to 17-6-4 on the year.

“It was really important, especially in the first period when they outshot us pretty badly there,” Zacha said of Swayman’s play. “He held us in the game, and our penalty kill too helped us a lot. There was a great team effort overall and we’re happy to win.”

Next up for Winnipeg is another weekend road set, this time featuring the Central Division’s Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. Both teams are below the Jets in the standings, with Nashville just four points back. Saturday’s matinee against the Predators features a 1:00 PM central time puck drop, while Sunday’s game will air at 6:00 PM. Both can be found on TSN.

“Both teams will be very desperate,” Bowness said of the Predators. “That’s the mentality that’s going to be there. There had better be a lot of urgency in every shift and every detail that we talk about. The urgency and the desperation, it has to be there.”


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