Now that was a better effort. And that was some better goaltending.
The Winnipeg Jets managed to rebound from their previous two dismal performances by gutting out a tough 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Goals by Eric Tangradi and Bryan Little, combined with an exceptional performance from Al Montoya in the crease, gave the Jets a much-needed victory and helps to put some smiles on a team in dire need of them.
The first period was a good road period for the Jets, as they scored the opening goal halfway through the stanza. Some excellent work along the boards from Kyle Wellwood led to Eric Tangradi's short-side roof-job that gave the youngster his first goal as a Jet. That was all the scoring in the periods, with the Jets leading 1-0 after 20 minutes and outshooting the home team 13-12.
The second period didn't see any goals, but it did see each team fail to convert on a 5-on-3 opportunity. Paul Postma and Mark Stuart each took minors on the same play, but the Jets managed to kill it off thanks to some fantastic positional play from Al Montoya. Winnipeg then got their chance at a shorter 5-on-3 when Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer were charged with stick infractions, but other than an Andrew Ladd shot off of the post there wasn't much doing. The shots were 7-6 for the Jets
Unfortunately, Al Montoya couldn't stop them all, as Steven Stamkos was left all alone in front of the net and converted a Martin St. Louis pass at the 6:57 mark to tied the game. But the Jets didn't need him to stop them all, as Bryan Little waltzed around St. Louis and deposited the game-winner through the five-hole of Anders Lindback at the 15:52 mark.
The Jets now head back to Sunrise tomorrow night in search of redemption, as they will get another crack at the injury-riddled Florida Panthers. The cats got shredded 7-1 by the Capitals in Washington tonight, so they'll be traveling further than the Jets will for their home game. What a weird schedule.
- Al Montoya looked fantastic tonight, as his work on the full two-minute 5-on-3 penalty kill was flawless. He stopped 28 of 29 shots (0.966 sv%), his positioning was very solid and I for one was very comfortable with him in net. Again. Is that a goalie controversy I smell brewing? I certainly hope so...
- I'm not sure what got Evander Kane and coach Noel fired up (check it out here if you haven't seen it), but I'm hopeful that it wasn't a big deal between the two. It looks like it worked though, as Kane was a beast tonight, ending the evening with 9 shots on net and looking dangerous the whole time.
- I hate to pick on Ron Hainsey again (okay, I don't mind it), but what was he doing in the right-hand corner when Zach Bogosian was already there on that play that lead to the Stamkos goal? Am I wrong in assuming that he should have been in front of the net?
- I'm not sure how Kyle Wellwood wasn't credited with an assist on the Tangradi goal, as it was his work along the boards that created the chance. It figures, as his haters will point out that he didn't earn any points tonight. #TeamWelly
- Eric Tangradi scored his first of hopefully many goals as a Jet, and James Wright was again a ferocious fore-checker who looked great on the penalty-kill. I have no idea how Chris Thorburn gets back into this lineup save for an injury.
- Zach Bogosian led the team in ice-time with 26:34 of ice-time, which is something I love to see. Ron Hainsey came in next at 25:17 followed by Dustin Byfuglien with 23:57. Evander Kane (21:12) and Olli Jokinen (20:38) were the top-two forwards.
- What is up with Blake Wheeler? He looked brutal to me, and has for quite some time. Ladd's Little Wheeler continues to do good things, but his play is concerning to me. What does his current play mean for his upcoming RFA contract negotiations?
- Paul Postma only played 8:51 tonight, which was the third-lowest TOI among the team.It is becoming more and more apparent that he has yet to earn the trust of the coach. Any chance we see Derek Meech in the lineup soon?
- The penalty kill continues to impress, as they managed to deny every chance on the evening again. I'm thinking that we could wake up tomorrow and see that we are no longer in the PK% basement.
- I'm happy that the Jets won, but I'm even happier that they put in a workmanlike effort. I really don't care if the team wins or loses if they put in a solid performance, and following the debacle in Sunrise the other night they needed a good effort. Luckily, we got one.