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Neuvirth makes 28 saves, Flyers shut out Jets

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG – It was one of those nights.

The frustrating kind. The kind you can’t explain, beside saying, 'We just weren’t good enough.'

The Winnipeg Jets fired 28 shots at Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth, but left having nothing to show for it.

Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read did the damage offensively, while Neuvirth recorded his league-leading third shutout in a 3-0 win Saturday at MTS Centre.

Neuvirth is the first goalie in Flyers franchise history to record three or more shutouts in his first six starts.

Ondrej Pavelec was good for the Jets, stopping 20 of 22 in a losing cause.

“Hard to tell how hot (Neuvirth) was,” Head Coach Paul Maurice. “We just didn’t execute offensively. What we did with the puck, we just weren’t real sharp with the thing. We had a hard time getting a handle on it and we put a lot into his glove early.”

The Jets were the better of the two teams at evens in the first, but the Flyers opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 5:54. From the top of the far circle, Schenn took a feed from Claude Giroux and fired a laser glove side, showing the release that made him a Top 5 pick in his draft year.

After 20 minutes of play, the Jets had a 12-8 lead in shots, but trailed 1-0 on the scoreboard.

The Jets came close early in the second with Nikolaj Ehlers cut to the middle on a 2-on-1, but Neuvirth stayed with him and terrific glove save.

“You never want to get shutout at home,” Blake Wheeler said. “We didn’t really sustain much in the offensive zone. They were clearing out all the rebounds and didn’t have enough guys at the net to make him scramble for some rebounds.

“We just couldn’t get one by him. We didn’t have it tonight.”

Tempers flared shortly thereafter as RJ Umberger took an open-ice run at Wheeler. Andrew Ladd to the defence of his fallen teammate, dropping the mitts and earning a unanimous decision over the Flyers forward.

Minutes later, Wheeler was penalized for boarding following an innocent collision with Flyers defenceman Michael Del Zotto, drawing the ire of the fans. Del Zotto later left the game after a heavier impact with Chris Thorburn, but did return.

The Jets held the Flyers to just one shot in the first 10 minutes of the middle frame. By period’s end, the home side held a 24-17 lead in shot attempts, and an 11-7 edge in scoring chances.

“Even strength, we really didn’t get them much at all,” Drew Stafford said. “I felt as though we carried the play for the most part, but they were able to take advantage of our lack of discipline. We’re not going to talk about the officiating at all, but the bottom line is we’ve got to kill off those penalties.”

The Flyers finished 2-for-5 on the power play, icing the game.

Simmonds put the Flyers up by two at 9:44 of the third. Pavelec made the initial save – a spectacular diving effort on Giroux – but the puck fell loose in the blue paint, giving Simmonds a tap in.

Read scored into the empty net with 1:35 to play.

The Jets will now head back out for another four-game road trip, beginning Tuesday in Minnesota.

LATE HITS: Nic Petan (illness) did not play tonight. In his place, Patrice Cormier made his 2015-16 debut, centering the fourth line between Chris Thorburn and Anthony Peluso. Paul Postma also played for the first time this season, paired with veteran Stuart. Ben Chiarot was the odd-man out.

– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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