If Claude Noel can find a way to bottle the effort he just got out of the Winnipeg Jets, his team might enjoy the sweet smell of success more often on the road this season.
Of course, there are always areas that could use some improvement, but the Jets pretty much rattled off all of the necessary check marks on the to-do list as they earned an impressive 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals before a sellout crowd of 18,506 at Verizon Center on Tuesday night.
"It was a really solid effort from start to finish," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. "I like the fact that we're getting better every game. This was a good blueprint of what we need to do to be successful.
"It's kind of our belief that if we play the way we can, we give ourselves a chance to win every night."
It's one thing to say those things when you're working to turn the corner and establish a winning culture, but the Jets seem determined to turn those thoughts into action.
After showing just the right mix of encouragement and disappointment following Monday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins, the Jets were playing their third game in four days and were determined not to use fatigue as a crutch.
Despite giving up the first goal after a nifty passing play between Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom that was finished off by the right skate of Matt Hendricks (but not intentionally kicked in), the Jets were able to dig deep and tighten up defensively.
"The thing I'm most happy about is our players are recognizing the way we need to win," said Noel. "With the work we did last year to build the foundation a bit, they recognize that we can get some stuff done."
Speaking of getting stuff done, the revival of a slumbering power play that had gone 0-for-9 after connecting on the first opportunity of the season helped provide a serious spark, as the Jets got markers with the man advantage from Evander Kane and Ladd to take a 2-1 lead to the dressing room.
Kane made an excellent move to chip the puck around John Carlson and then found a streaking Blake Wheeler to extend the late at 14:32 of the second, then the Jets delivered a demoralizing blow when Jim Slater tipped home a point shot from Dustin Byfuglien during the final minute.
The Jets got another sound performance from Ondrej Pavelec, their team defence was excellent, they won the special-teams battle, blocked more shots and won more face-offs.
Winnipeg Jets earn first win of season over Capitals
Winnipeg Sun | Jan 23