Going into the game, I'd have been happy with a point. Two makes me ecstatic.
The Winnipeg Jets reclaimed their position atop the Southeast Division with an incredible third period comeback and 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. Despite not having earned any points in the seven games they'd trailed after two periods, the Jets managed to take advantage of stellar netminding and timely goals to earn the huge win. With the Carolina Hurricanes losing in regulation to the Florida Panthers, Winnipeg is now two clear of the Canes and back in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference.
The first few minutes were pretty exciting, as there were glorious chances at both ends of the ice. Blake Wheeler came in hard from his off-wing and ripped one over Tuukka Rask's glove but off of the crossbar early on, and then just minutes later Ondrej Pavelec robbed Patrice Bergeron with a stellar glove save. The Jets took both penalties in the frame but killed them both off, and the first ended with no goals. Shots were 10-9 for the Bruins.
Unfortunately, if you blinked at the beginning of the 2nd period you would have missed Boston open the scoring, as Brad Marchand capitalized on an odd yet terrible giveaway from Zach Bogosian just 8 seconds in. And if not for Pavelec bailing out Bustin and company multiple times, it could have been way worse than the 1-0 score after two. Shots were 9-7 for the Bruins in the middle stanza.
The third period began with the Bruins putting all sorts of pressure on the home team, but Pavelec held his ground and made a bunch of key saves. Perhaps none were bigger than the huge pad save on a Zdeno Chara pinch on a power-play to keep the game close. And thanks to the fantastic play of the goalie, the Jets hung around and eventually cashed in. With Jordan Caron in the box for tripping, Blake Wheeler tipped a Zach Bogosian point shot top shelf to even the game 1-1 and set the building alive.
Apparently all the Jets needed was some fire, as just 57 second seconds after the Wheeler goals the Jets took the lead. Rask misplayed a Grant Clitsome point shot that rattled aroundt he crease, and Evander Kane potted his 12th of the season to put the Jets up 2-1 at the 12:41 mark. A penalty to Grant Clitsome less than a minute later caused some concern, but the Jets killed off the penalty to complete the perfect night on the kill. And when Wheeler deposited his second of the night into the empty net, the Jets finished off the impressive comeback.
- I thought that Alexander Burmistrov looked very good tonight. Sure, his shift length may have been a touch long, but played way more than Patrice Cormier did in both weekend games combined and gave the 4th-line some much needed jump. He ended up playing 10:02, nearly double his linemates, and he won all four draws he took.
- Blake Wheeler was flying tonight. He was involved big time, and got heated at the ref late in the 1st when Chara slashed him a couple of times. He's good when he's fired up. And that tip on the power-play? Lovely.
- Dustin Byfuglien was f&*$ing awful. Again. He had way too many giveaways, and he was very lucky that none of them ended up in his net. And don't point at the secondary assist he got on Wheeler's PP goal, either. He was BAD. Hopefully the return of Tobias Enstrom can help set Bustin straight...
- Ondrej Pavelec was once again the best Jet on the ice as he continues to try and prove me wrong. If not for him the game would have been a Bruins romp, but he allowed his team to hang around and eventually earned the regulation win. Pavelec ended up stopping 27 of 28 shots for a 0.964 save percentage. Good stuff.
- How about that? The Jets got a power-play goal when they needed one, and it flipped the momentum and led to the win. Combine that with the perfect 4-4 on the PK and the Jets won the special teams battle. This is a very common trend in their wins/losses. Loved Bogo's shot from the point, which helped make up for his obvious gaffe.
- Despite his struggles, Buff led the team in ice-time with 24:29. Ron Hainsey next with 24:05, while Bogo clocked in 23:58. Evander Kane again led all forwards with 21:37, while Ladd was the next forward at 20:13.
- It's probably time to end the experiment of having Olli Jokinen on the point of the power-play. Hopefully Toby can replace him there, as they just aren't getting anything done. Nothing against Olli, but it's not working.
- Speaking of Toby, what will the Jets do when he gets back? Assuming that there are no more injuries (knock on wood), the Jets will have 9 (!) healthy bodies with Arturs Kulda and Paul Postma already up in the press-box.
- I still hate Brad Marchand. Maybe even more than ever. But I'd still take him on my team.
- With the Washington Capitals coming in for back-to-back games later this week, the Jets will have a chance to pile up even more points against a crappy team. That's right, Trevor, I said it. They're crappy.