For the Minnesota perspective, check out Hockey Wilderness.
Yeah, it is a terrible title, I know, but I had to do it. In what was the loudest game I've been to yet, the Winnipeg Jets managed to end the Minnesota Wild's 7-game winning streak by defeating them 2-1 in front of 15,004 delirious fans in the MTS Centre. The victory improved the Jets to 10-4 at home and vaulted them ahead of the Washington Capitals in the Southeast Division with 32 points, six points behind the division-leading (and hated rival) Florida Panthers. Seriously though, my ears are still ringing from that game, as the crowd exploded when Bryan Little scored the eventual game-winner and again even louder when Ondrej Pavelec and company defended that lead late in the game to preserve the lead. What an atmosphere.
This was another big game for the Jets against a really tough opponent, and again they came up huge at home. Following last Saturday's debacle versus the Red Wings, the boys needed to play a solid game and they certainly did. Winnipeg is now 5-1 in December, and have 5 more games to go on their current 6-game home trip. More after the jump...
1st Period: No Scoring
Shots: MIN 35 WPG 27
Thoughts from the Tarmac:
- There cannot be a louder building in the league. Due to the smallish-size of the MTS Centre and the crazed fans in there, it has to be experienced live. As TSN's Mike Johnson (@mike_p_johnson) tweeted after the game:
Another incredible night at the MTS centre. The fans are the loudest in the league, and the Jets play hard for them.
- The Jets defense looked really good today, and I think that having Ron Hainsey back in the lineup helped with this. The veteran played 22:12 in his return to the lineup and played on both the PP and the PK. He looked really good out there.
- Zach Bogosian was a beast. He finally lit the lamp, finished +2 on the night, and was in my opinion the best defender on the ice. However, that hit late in the game didn't look good from where I sat in the upper-deck, but I can't comment on it since I didn't get a great view. I've seen on Twitter that it may be suspendible due to his "status" as a repeat offender. Thoughts?
- Buff was good today. His pass to Little on the game-winner was fantastic, and overall he played a smart game. One or two "Bustin" plays still, but overall I was quite pleased.
- Ondrej Pavelec stood on his head late in this game. If he doesn't make that unreal save on Kyle Brodziak in the final minute, with the Wild on the 5-minute PP, then the ending likely would have been different. The Wild would have stayed on the PP for another 4-ish minutes and likely win in OT. Fantastic stuff from our goalie.
- Bryan Little scores again, his 11th, and his line with Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane were the best line for the Jets. They could be really good for a long time.
- The GST line was solid again, and Tanner Glass was really feeling frisky tonight. Good scrap with Clayton Stoner, lots of rough and tumble play, he just played with an edge that really helps elevate his game. I thought Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn also looked good.
- Coach Noel had the line blender going throughout the game, as the lines kept changing throughout the 2nd and 3rd periods. Andrew Ladd ended up on a line with Kyle Wellwood and Tim Stapleton, and I thought they looked good. Eric Fehr started the game there, but ended up with Carl Klingberg and Jason Jaffray, and didn't see much time late in the game.
- Mikko Koivu is an excellent hockey player. He is big, he is strong, and boy is he talented. He is by far their best player, and I think he is extremely underrated.
- Dany Heatley and Nik Backstrom got the brunt of the crowd this evening. Heatley was booed whenever he touched the puck, and the Backstrom chants went from loud to deafening after he allowed the Little goal. Awesome stuff from the crowd again tonight.
- I haven't seen the highlights, but from the upper deck we didn't like the goalie interference call that nullified Byfuglien's goal. Was it the right call? All night the refs got it, partly because they seemed to make some bad calls (again), but all was right in the world when one of them got hit with a shot. The crowd roared for that one!
- I already liked the new NHL realignment, but after this game I cannot wait to start a new rivalry with our closest geographical rival in Minnesota. This game was pretty nasty, and by the end both teams had a healthy hate-on towards each other. 6 games against each other next year? Yes, please.
- Up next are the Washington Capitals, who come here trailing the Jets by 1 point after tonight's play. They got worked by the Philadelphia Flyers (minus one Claude Giroux) this evening, so they should be mad when they come here on Thursday.
- Oh, one more thing. I have now improved my record to 2-3 in Jets games I attend! They are still 8-1 without me, but at least they didn't lose today... I would have felt awful.