The Winnipeg Jets were treated to a long standing ovation as time wound down tonight in Winnipeg, because that's the kind of night it was. After a quick Washington goal by Alexander Semin (grrr), the Jets responded a few short minutes later and never looked back as they marched on to a 4-1 win against Ovechkin and the boys.
The Jets finally put together back to back solid performances coming off their win against Tampa Bay, and this win saw the monkey finally get off the back of Blake Wheeler as he netted his 1st goal of the year on his 44th shot of the season.
A lot of players stepped up in this one, and you can read all about it in Game Thoughts, along with the Boxscore, after THE JUMP.
When you go down early, it takes a lot of character to make sure to just learn from your mistakes and keep on giving it your all, and the Jets managed to do that quite nicely tonight with 4 unanswered goals.
- Ondrej Pavelec: This guy keeps on showing up big game after game. Putting up his 11th straight start, Pavs stopped 31 of 32 shots and was able to shut the door on a team known for its offense. The win brings his record to 6-7-3 and his save percentage up to an even 90% on the year. IOf the Jets are to succeed down the stretch this needs to continue, and until he falters I expect Coach Noel to continually turn to him.
- Alexander Ovechkin: Had 5 shots on goal, but was essentially shut down and never seemed all that threatening. Maybe the book IS out on him.
- Evander Kane: Really starting to show just how good those hand can be, notching a pair of even strength goals to bring his season total to 8 and looked like he could make it a hat trick at any moment. Burmistrov's Little Kane was dynamic all night, with Burmi and Little picking up assists along the way.
- Monkey: The primate that was occupying the back of Blake Wheeler has left the building, as he finally got on the board by using his speed and size to fly in off the boards and pot one in. Need to see more of that going forward.
- Penalty Kill: Now I don't like the fact that the Jets keep taking a handful of penalties every game, but in their past 3 games they have killed 15 of 15, with 5 powerplays in this contest resulting in no goals, including a 5 on 3 at one point, which was the 9th encountered by the Jets this year.
- Defense: Wow, where to start? Buff, Bogo, Stu, Flood, Johnny O and Kulda all played extremely well tonight. Dustin Byfuglien showed some offensive flair in the first but didn't end up on the scoreboard, and Mark Flood has turned into an absolute gem that I have no intention of sending back to St. John's for a while. Johnny Oduya and Mark Stuart really showed their defensive prowess, doing everything needed on penalty kills and otherwise to keep the Caps off the board. Great game by the back 6.
- Power Play: 2 for 5 on the night, featuring solid goals from Wheeler and another where a great sequence of passes from Nik Antropov, Stapleton and finally Laddy with the poke to Wellwood who notched his 6th to reaffirm his title as best bargain in the NHL.
- The crowd: Electric. You could hear it all night, either giving it to Ovechkin, chanting the old Go Jets Go or for the first time this season: "Na na na na, Hey hey hey, Good Bye!". A thunderous standing ovation began with just over a minute remaining on the clock and didn't stop until after the Jets had saluted the fans at centre ice. The Jets were thoroughly deserving of this acknowledgment on this night.
The Jets finish off their 3 game home stand against Ilya "Winnipeg Sucks" Bryzgalov and the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. I'm sure the great fans of Winnipeg will be sure to show their appreciation of his opinions.