That is the only word I can use to describe the sound in the MTS Centre when Bryan Little broke down the win and snapped a shot past Tuukka Rask on December 6, 2011. Ask anyone who was there, there has not been a Jets goal more loudly celebrated this year. The goal put the Jets up by a score of 2-1 which would end up being the final score in a game that saw our pesky underdogs take out a Bruins squad that had just gone on a 14-0-1 run.
Now the Bruins have not had the misfortune of completely falling apart after the Jets ended their streak like the Minnesota Wild did. But that game, however insignificant in the big picture, was huge for team, player and fan morale. "If we can beat the defending champs, we can beat anybody." That might be the game where people really started thinking that this wasn't a team that was building for the future, but in fact was a team ready to make a splash here and now.
January quickly scuttled any delusions of grandeur that the Jets fan base had acquired.
The win was still great though, and one that will live in the memory banks for a long time. It was a dogfight between two clubs resting on the prowess of their goaltenders, with Rask stopping 33 of 35 for the B's and Ondrej Pavelec putting in a sensational effort as he stopped 39 of 40 Boston shots. And if you say "Oh well that was just Boston's backup" then you're not too bright. In 20 appearances this year, Rask has a save percentage of 93.2% and a GAA of 2.01. Both those stats put him in the top 5 in the NHL, and he is the long-term answer for who the B's have in net going forward after Tim "Facebook" Thomas leaves.
The Little goal will not go down in hockey lore as a "where were you when..." moment, but for any Jets fan there that day it was something to be forever remembered.
That was then...this is now.
The Jets are coming off a road win in Minnesota last night that saw them beat their closest neighbors by a score of 4-3 in shootout in a game that saw Evander Kane score 3 goals, including the game winner, but not record the hat trick. Welcome to today's NHL.
Boston played on Wednesday in Montreal, where they too won 4-3 in shootout. Chara took a puck to the face and people cheered. Boston fans got all bent out of joint about it, but really they're no better. Even Claude Julien admitted in the heat of battle fans get highly emotional. When you see a player dump it in and nail a ref who missed a penalty call earlier, one has to smile that the gods of karma have claimed another victim.
But that's just my opinion.
Keys to the Game, Player Numbers and Lineups coming up after THE JUMP
Keys to the Game:
- Uhmmm...yea the powerplay still sucks. Moving on...
- The Jets got good goaltending in the 3rd last night as once again they seemed to back off on the pressure and fell behind early, but uncharacteristically they tied it up on a good effort by Burmi. The Jets cannot expect a similar route to payoff against the Bruins. Ain't gonna happen.
- Big key here: don't get embarrassed at home. The faceoffs should be easier, and we have last change so the matchup game should favor the Jets. Fatigue may be a factor, unless your name is Antti Miettinen and you only played 6 minutes last night. Maybe Fehr sees action again...who knows.
- Speaking of who knows, Zach Bogosian has not been ruled out of this tilt and I hope to know more as the day goes on.
- Former Thrasher Rich Peverley took a knee on knee on Wednesday and might not be able to go. If this is the case, look for Joshua Hennessy to make his Bruins debut tonight.
- Boston is the best faceoff team in the league. AC Slater, Little and company need to pull up their socks and ensure that the B's don't dictate off the draw.
Jets (GP 59 27-26-6 60 PTS)
#31 Ondrej Pavelec
If Bogo is good to go, Jones would be out. Even if he WAS +2 yesterday. Which goes to show you how useless that stat can be.
Boston (GP 55 35-18-2 72 PTS)
#40 Tuukka Rask
I'm putting Rask in because...well that seems to be what Claude Julien does against Winnipeg. I mentioned it higher up, but there could be shuffling if Peverley is hurt. He left the Montreal game with 15 minutes remaining and didn't return, nor did he skate yesterday.
Player to boo mercilessly: Normally I'd say Chara, but Marchand is continuing to do things like clipping people, and somehow got away with it this time. You just don't do that. Have some respect for your fellow player. None of this "self defense" crap either.
Prediction: Winnipeg 2-4 Boston. We flat out suck at back to backs. Playing Boston only complicates matters.