Looking back on last nights win against the New York Islanders, there was one defining moment for me. A "TSN Turning Point" if you will. It was the kind of moment that made me leap off my couch and yell gleefully at the TV, which doesn't happen all that often. It came in the second period during the midst of a penalty kill, as Bryan Little was sitting in the box for tripping. In a one goal game, one enemy ice and with a defense core on the limp this could prove to be a make or break point of the game. And then something wonderful happened.With 7:20 left on the clock in the period and the Jets on the kill, the puck fell to the stick of John Tavares who unleashed a slapshot from the point, only for Jim Slater, known as AC to his true friends, to put himself in front of it and block it with his stomach. AC got up right away but you could see he was suffering and wasn't going to be quite as effective for the duration of the kill. the Islanders noticed too, and once again the puck went to Tavares at the point who let go another slapshot only to see Chris Thorburn block it with his legs. The next 15 seconds turned into a gongshow with the Jets prevailing, but it was those blocks that really got me excited. This was a game where Mark Stuart, who leads the team in blocked shots, was watching from the press box and Tobias Enstrom was back in Winnipeg seeing team doctors rendering him incapable of mopping up after the legendary Dustin Byfuglien, with Meech and Hainsey also still out of action. That being said, a commendable performance was put in by Brett Festerling, and while Mark Flood didn't seem as good, he didn't allow any goals either so that's a plus. Actually it's not a plus and he finished at even on the night but that's beside the point.
If I'm going to talk about grit, I should also mention the work of Nik Antropov and Randy Jones, both who felt sore after blocked shots. Antropov returned to the game after blocking one off his arm, but Jones was unable to come back after blocking one with the inside of his foot. he TSNRadio1290 post game show indicated that X-Ray results were negative, so he might be good to go for the tilt against the Devils but we'll have to wait and see on that one.
Players needed to step up defensively and that is exactly what they did. this is something the Jets can really build off of as they go into the final 3 games of this road trip. Laying your self on the line just shows to your teammates that you're willing to sacrifice to get the W, and that's got to be inspiring to the other players. Sure you don't become an Ironman by continually doing this, but nobody likes Jay Bouwmeester anyways.