By Judy Owen
THE CANADIAN PRESS
WINNIPEG _ The Winnipeg Jets could have made it more difficult for Michal Neuvirth to earn himself another shutout on Saturday.
Neuvirth made 28 saves and Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds both scored on the power play as the Philadelphia Flyers ended their six-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Jets.
It was the third win this season for the 27-year-old goaltender and he’s blanked his opponent in all three. His three shutouts lead the NHL.
“It’s a little hard to tell how hot he was,” said Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice. “We just didn’t execute offensively. What we did with the puck, we just weren’t real sharp with it.
“We had a hard time getting a handle on it, getting it off quick. Put a lot into his glove early, I thought. Not a lot of empty-net chances or back-door chances in that game. Just couldn’t get a lot of pucks to the net.”
Matt Read added an empty-net goal with 1:35 left in the game and Claude Giroux picked up a pair of assists.
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced for the Jets (8-5-2), who hadn’t been held off the scoresheet yet this season.
The Flyers (5-6-3) had lost six straight (0-4-2) heading into the match, which ended a five-game road trip.
“(Neuvirth) played a heck of a game,” said Simmonds. “I thought we played strong in front of him. We kept it simple and we put a couple in the net tonight.
“We’ve been struggling to score goals, and both our goalies have been playing awesome every time they play.”
Steve Mason and Neuvirth have each played in eight games for Philadelphia.
Neuvirth, who was making his seventh start of the season, now has a 1.81 goals-against average and .945 save percentage.
“That’s the way we want to end this road trip,” said Neuvirth. “It’s been a long 10 days and I thought we were getting better each game. I thought it was a great team effort.”
Schenn’s fifth goal of the season at 5:54 of the first period ended Philadelphia’s skid of not scoring with the man advantage for seven straight games on 16 chances.
Jets forward Alexander Burmistrov was off for tripping when Giroux made a short pass to Schenn in the face-off circle and he fired a one-timer past Pavelec.
Drew Stafford pointed to the Jets’ lack of discipline as being a big factor in the loss.
“We didn’t really challenge (Neuvirth) with some of the shots,” said Stafford. “We were pretty much shooting right into him.
“For the most part, I thought we carried the play even strength. It was more of our discipline. They took advantage of their (power-play) time because they didn’t really get anything going even strength.”
Simmonds’ goal came after some bad luck to Pavelec.
Pavelec had slid to the left side of the net to stop a shot but tripped, with his stick somehow getting stuck in the top of the net. He moved to the right and stopped Giroux’s shot with his body, but the puck bounced off him and he fell on his stomach. Simmonds then flipped the puck into the net for his second goal of the season at 9:44.
“I didn’t see it,” said Pavelec. “I just lost the stick and they made some quick plays around the net and it ended up in our net.”