Break out the party hats, blowers and a bottle of champagne, the Winnipeg Jets are back in the win column after a 3-2 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers.
Or maybe we should dial it back, just a bit.
Though we could sit and reign hyperbolic prose and wax poetic all over the Jets' effort last night, we wont. This afterall is merely but one win; a tiny speck of the remaining thirty-nine scheduled games which freckle our calendars for the next three months.
It does, however, feel good to finally register a victory after going four games -- spanning over eight days -- since the last; a dramatic overtime defeat of the New York Islanders.
Since that Sunday night tilt with the Isles, the Jets had done little to give their fans reason to cheer about. A three game winning streak was replaced by mounting additions to the loss column. The Jets were outscored by a total of 18-9 over that stretch. The penalty kill was brutal, the goaltending equally abhorrent.
The backbone of consistency just wasn't there.
We've admittedly been a negative echo chamber this past week, bemoaning every one of Winnipeg's fatal flaws and praying to whatever God would listen for a win. And for that, it's time to give the Jets' some dap for their effort.
In a third period that could have scripted itself similarly to last Thursday's meeting in Sunrise, FL, it thankfully didn't. Winnipeg was able to strap on their big-boy pants in the second and third periods, and, despite playing fearful of making a mistake that would end up in the back of their net, they forced an overtime frame, earning the first of two points in the process.
It was in overtime that Evander Kane drew a powerplay on a Filip Kuba trip, on which the Jets played more guarded hockey before Bryan Little found a seam in the Panthers defense and beat Scott Clemmensen glove-side with a beautiful snipe, earning the Jets' full two points.
"It's nice to win again after a tough road trip, but it would have been nice to get the two points clean", said the overtime hero after the game.
"it was a pretty sloppy game but two is better than nothing so I think we're pretty happy with that."
A cautioning Claude Noel confirmed the statements of Little in his post-game presser. He admitted that the Jets will be able to find plenty of fault in their performance, as the final certainly could have swung the other way on an at times lax Winnipeg roster.
"There was a lot of tentative play early. We were quite a bit better in the second but I thought we looked like a fairly tired hockey team so that's something we've been addressing."
And for the Panthers, it's back to the drawing board after their two-game streak has been snapped, albeit while still earning a point in the loss.
Notwithstanding that it can be detrimental to spot divisional opponents a multitude of wins, Florida was still able to come away with a valuable road point, keeping pace two points behind Winnipeg in the standings column.
For a coach as hard-nosed as Kevin Dineen, there is no amount of moral victories that will quell the sting of a loss, especially for a team looking to make their second straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. His bottom line was simple, the Panthers had to play better, and -- like the Jets -- more consistently to earn future success.
"Fatigue played a little bit in a few mistakes that happened, specifically on that last goal. That's what happens when you keep going to the same guys."
"The one issue with our game is just the level of consistency that we have to keep from shift to shift, period to period and game to game."
"We're headed in the right direction but we're not there yet."