The MTS Centre is quickly becoming known as one of the loudest barns in the league, but it is the Winnipeg Jets that are giving their fans a reason to be crazy loud. After beginning the season with a 2-3 record through their first 5 home games, the Jets have now gone 7-1 in their last 8 in the River City and are now 4-0 in December after taking care of the Jeff Skinner-less Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Winnipeg scored 34 seconds into the game and never looked back, chasing Cam Ward at the 11:28 mark of the second period and providing new Carolina bench-boss Kirk Muller with even more heartache.
In what could have been a letdown game following their big victory over the Bruins, the Jets jumped all over the 'Canes and gave Chris Mason his 3rd win over Carolina this season. It certainly helped that Skinner was a scratch and that the Hurricanes went a man short tonight, but the end result is another 2 points in the bank. The Jets now sit at 13-11-4 for 30 points, and have jumped to 9th in the East, only 1 point back of the 8th-place Washington Capitals.
2nd Period: 10:16 WPG Tim Stapleton PP (3) (Kyle Wellwood, Dustin Byfuglien) 11:28 WPG Bryan Little PP (9) (Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler)
Shots: WPG 37 CAR 25
3 Stars: 1. Blake Wheeler 2. Dustin Byfuglien 3. Chris Mason
Thoughts From the Tarmac:
- 4 straight wins at the MTS Centre, and the building was rocking again this evening. Eric Staal was targeted for the boos this evening, and Cam Ward really got it when he was pulled for Mike Murphy. What an atmosphere in this barn.
- Dustin Byfuglien played well. Again. I like him much better when he drops his Bustin routine and plays solid defensively. He added a goal and an assist tonight, was +1 and played 22:07. I did catch one glimpse of Bustin out there on the power-play, but even I have been impressed with his overall play of late.
- Kane's Little Wheeler just keeps on rolling. Evander Kane scored again, his 15th of the year, while adding an assist to keep up his torrid pace. That is 10 goals in his last 11 games, folks. Brian Little scored again, his 9th, while Blake Wheeler added 3 apples. The trio were all +2 on the evening as well. If this is still considered the 2nd line, are there many better ones in the entire league?
- I thought that Ladd-Burmistrov-Wellwood looked okay again tonight, and I was pleased to see Welly earn an assist on the Stapleton goal. However, this line just seems to miss Nik Antropov, and he may be back tomorrow which can only help.
- Guess who led the Jets in ice-time again? If you guessed Zach Bogosian, give yourself a cookie. He played 24:52 tonight, and though he finished -1 I thought he was solid again.
- The best part of jumping out to the early lead this evening? The fact that Coach Noel could roll all four lines throughout the night. Carl Klingberg played the least, but he saw 8:24 of ice-time. Only him and Jason Jaffray (9:06) didn't get to the 10 minute mark. This is very important with the road game in Detroit tomorrow.
- Tim "Steam Punk" Stapleton managed to eclipse the 10-minute mark (10:01), and scored with a rocket from the point on the power-play to get the winning goal. He has filled in admirably on the PP while Tobias Enstrom has been out, but I do like what I've seen out of him.
- Jim "AC" Slater went 15-for-18 on the draw this evening. Great stuff there, as the whole team won 37 of 61 (67%) face-offs on the evening.
- Chris Mason beats Carolina again. He is now 3-2 on the season, and all 3 wins have been over the Hurricanes. I wonder if he'll start all 6 this season. Overall I liked his game tonight, he looked calm and in control, and unfortunately the team sat back in the third on their 4-0 lead and allowed Carolina to get two by him.
- I have some bad news folks. The Jets are 9-4 at home now, which is great, except that I've been to four home games this season and they are 1-3 with me in attendance. That means they are 8-1 when I'm not there. I have tickets to all 3 home games next week (Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks). Uh oh. Maybe it'd help if I ate a sandwich at the game.
- Winnipeg is off to Detroit tonight to play the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena tomorrow evening. This will be a big test, but it sounds like Antro should be good to go, and Ondrej Pavelec is expected to get the start. I think that we should make it 5 straight wins. Sound okay to you?