After a poor showing Tuesday night in New Jersey, the Winnipeg Jets managed to put together a strong performance of their own against the road weary Buffalo Sabres, putting together a 4-1 win that saw them dominate for the majority of the game.
The win tonight is only the 4th for the Jets in their last 10, and while it's great that they find ways of winning on home ice, it's away from the Phone Booth that is worrisome. While not as bad as the Sabres, who have lost 11 straight road games, the Jets are a woeful 7-12-4 away from home, and heading into a stretch with 8 out of 9 games away from home. If this is a team hoping to make the playoffs, their fortunes must improve in opposition arenas.
Where was I....
Oh yeah....the Jets totally stomped the Sabres tonight.
In a game where the Jets were looking to take advantage of a team that played last night, the Jets did exactly that, making Buffalo look completely outworked as the game went on. The Sabres would see their tired squad depleted throughout the game as both Patrick Kaleta and Nathan Gerbe left the game nursing assorted injuries.
The Jets fired off 19 shots in the first frame, and were able to find the twine when Andrew Ladd deflected in a Ron Hainsey point shot with 8:26 left to go in the frame, a lead they would take into the first intermission.
The Jets would come out sluggish in the second frame, and it would eventually bite them when Drew Stafford would pot home a Nathan Gerbe feed on a 2 on 1 4:17 into the period. That goal and the subsequent coming to life of the crowd appeared to spark the Jets, and they would take advantage after the Sabres took a too many men penalty and the Jets would score twice on the powerplay. Sure the first one was nullified due to "intent to blow", but Toby Enstrom would actually score to put the Jets up for good with 7:05 left in the second.
The Jets would enter the third up 2-1...
And that's when it happened
Blake Wheeler vs Nathan Gerbe. Alright it wasn't an actual fight, but Big Wheels leaned hard on Gerbe, who didn't like it and slashed Wheels, so Wheels reaches over and bats Gerbe's helmet down over his eyes.
As a tall person, it made my day.
Buffalo would take another penalty early in the period, and once again the Jets made them pay with the man advantage, as Antro tipped a pass to Stapleton who was eventually able to bat it into the net for the second powerplay goal of the game.
Big Antro would finish the scoring after taking a deflection out of the air with his glove, walking out front by himself and backhanding one past Ryan Miller for his second goal of the night.
Pavelectricity got the win by stopping 25 of the 26 shots coming his way in a solid effort that should silence any questions about who's the number 1 keeper in town.
A win at home is always good, as it gets you 2 points to keep you in the playoff hunt, while keeping the rabid home supporters satisfied. The Jets should see big minute and big shot defenseman Zach Bogosian return to the lineup Saturday night to face the dastardly Florida Panthers (booooo).
First Period: 11:34 Winnipeg ES Goal, Andrew Ladd (16) (Ron Hainsey, Kyle Wellwood)
Shots: Winnipeg 33, Buffalo 26
Three Stars: 1. Tobias Enstrom 2. Andrew Ladd 3. Blake Wheeler
- The tall guys had a good day. Wheels and Antro played well for the most part, despite Antro taking a two minutes for being too tall penalty, and Wheels picking on a guy 13 inches shorter than him
- Powerplay looked good tonight, even without the big bombs from Bogo and Buff. 2 for 4 with goals from Toby and Steam Punk was a solid performance.
- 24 of 44 in the faceoff department once again sees the Jets with the advantage, which always helps both defensively and offensively. Jim Slater lead the way, going 8 of 12 at the dot
- Mark Flood is not as good as I thought he was when he first came up and stole the show. STill doesn't mean I want him put on waivers though. I am, however, failing to see why Paul Postma is not getting play time if he's up here. That issue may be resolved by the weekend if Bogo is ready to return
- I have to say there's something I admire about Randy Jones. It's a leadership thing that makes me wonder why he doesn't have a letter on his chest. Sure we have a lot of veteran leaders on our team, but it's the little things he does. Two noticeable things: he waits for Burmi after the pre-game warmup. If you've been to a Jets game, you'll have seen two things commonly: AC Slater shoots at the oppostion goal as soon as he hits the ice, and Burmi is the last guy off. With Jones in the lineup, he is actually the last guy off as he'll wait by the door for Burmi to finish, and as he skates by Jones will slap the ice with his stick then pat Burmi on the back with it and follow him in. Following the second period when the opposing team passes by our netminder, Jones will skate over and escort him through the masses to our bench. I dig this. It's not the punch in the face method of Stu that I also love, but it shows how he's looking out for his guys.
- Mark Stuart had 4 blocked shots, but none more painful that hit him in, what I will call, "the junk". Naturally, he stayed out there and battled until the puck got out of the zone. But jumping over the boards didn't seem overly pleasant as he sat with his head down, while Chris Mason reassured him that the damage probably wasn't permanent.
- Antti Miettinen got the night off, as the 4th line was comprised of Eric Fehr, Steam Punk and Alexander Burmistrov. Fehr continues to play sharp ever since that public tongue lashing, and got himself 3 shots on net in 8 minutes of play. I'd like to see him take the RW spot on the second line if possible. but Coach Noel likes to ignore my thoughtful suggestions
- The Jets need to find way of getting more than 2 points out of there back to back next week in Carolina and NYR. Maximum points on the road against the cellar dwellar and penthouse suite holder of the East would be a great way to go into the All-Star Break
- About a month left until trade deadline and rumors are abound as people make their voices known on players on their wishlists, and players on personal trading blocks. Personally I think we're a Doug Gilmour away from success, so if we can trade for him that'd be sweet. But honestly the Jets stand to gain more in the long term if they can rid themselves of some bulky contracts, as retaining the good pieces will be costly as the years progress and we build from within
- The intent to blow rule has got to be the stupidest thing ever. Maybe because the wording sounds like it ought to be the name for an X-Rated film. But that is such a dumb way to let the refs cover their own asses. There I said it.