The Winnipeg Jets started their offence just 49 seconds into the game on Monday night, and smothered the Ottawa Senators offence the rest of the night en route to a 2-0 win in Ottawa. It was the first time this season the Senators failed to score at least one goal.
Jim Slater provided that game-winning goal just 49 seconds into the game, after Jason Spezza gave the puck away in the offensive zone and the Jets converted on a 3-on-1 rush. The first period gained some drama when Erik Karlsson knocked down Evander Kane, after which Kane cross-checked Karlsson to the head--which wasn't penalized. On the next shift Daniel Alfredsson took a run at Johnny Oduya, and shortly after that Chris Neil dropped the gloves with Kane and Matt Carkner dropped them with Mark Stuart. Ottawa came out of the scuffle with the extra penalty, but nothing became of it.
In the second, there were large portions of painfully boring hockey, but at the 6:48 mark Tobias Enstrom beat Craig Anderson with a slapshot from the top of the circle, which was all the offence in the game. Ottawa brought the play to Winnipeg in the third, but Chris Mason shut the door and boarded it up for his second shutout of the season.
It was the Senators' first regulation loss since Dec. 27, 2011.
Sens Killer: Structure
The Jets success tonight didn't come from many individual efforts, but instead from the communal commitment to implementing Claude Noel's rigid, structured system. They shut the Senators down at every turn, and always seemed to get their sticks and bodies in the way of shots and passes to prevent Ottawa from building any momentum or generating any scoring chances.
Sens Killer: Giveaways
The Jets' high-pressure tactics forced 15 giveaways from the Senators, including two from each of Filip Kuba, Jason Spezza, and Erik Karlsson, and one from nearly everyone else in the lineup. (Just six Sens skaters weren't tagged with a giveaway in the game.) Giveaways are a complete 180-degree change: Instead of the opportunity to create a scoring chance of your own, you offer the opposition the opportunity to generate one. Not cool. The Jets committed just four giveaways.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
Despite taking the loss, Anderson had a hell of a game, and kept Ottawa within striking distance as ably as he could. He stopped 33 of 35 shots faced, making some truly remarkable saves, but simply didn't have the goal support from his teammates to get the win.
On Target: Erik Karlsson
An obvious target for the Jets on Monday night was the Sens' dynamic defencemen, and Karlsson took at least five big hits in the game. Evander Kane hit him with a couple of cross-checks, but Andrew Ladd, Jim Slater, and Tanner Glass all took shots at him, too (their hits were clean, though). The contact didn't take Karlsson right out of the game, but he wasn't as effective as usual.
Sens Hurt-er: Chris Mason
Mason wasn't tested enough to be called a Sens Killer, but he was there when he needed to be--especially in the third period, when Ottawa had 14 of their 25 shots in the game. The Senators are an emotional team, and if Mason had faltered and offered them a glimpse of success, they could very well have come back. Instead, he smothered any opportunities that got through the smothering system of the skaters in front of him.
Making a Statement: Chris Neil
Shortly after Kane took his (first) cheapshot at Karlsson, Neil laid a clean hit on Kane and then attempted to fight him. Kane wasn't interested in the fight (and Neil got an extra two minutes), but Neil still demonstrated to opponents that liberties taken with the Senators' stars will not be tolerated.