It was a night that started off with its fair share of pomp. All 10 of the Olympians participating in tonight’s game were honoured at centre ice as the Jets wanted to find a way to join in on the Olympic celebration. Tonight was the final game at the MTS Centre before the Olympic break. Tonight also marked a night that many people(not including myself) found important. It took over 2 years, but the Vancouver Canucks finally made their first trip into the arena that their former AHL team used to call home. Several current Canucks were part of the Moose organization and tonight was a special night for them, True North brass, and die hard Canucks fans. The Canucks were also one of the bandwagon jumps of choice for many Winnipeggers when the Jets 1.0 left so there was a very healthy number of Canucks fans in attendance.
The first period started off at a quick pace, but featured mostly sloppy play. Zack Bogosian was able to open the scoring 5 minutes into the first, firing home a one-timer past former Moose star Eddie Lack. Just over a minute later, the Jets were able to double their lead. Mark Scheifele showed his ever-developing vision to set up Dustin Byfuglien, who set up Devin Setoguchi to make it 2-0. The Canucks, however, were able to make it a 2-1 game when Alex Edler put home his 4th of the year. Edler’s goal came on the power play and it was the Canucks’ first power play goal in 7 games.
The Canucks were able to claw back into the game as the second period got under way. Ryan Kesler was able to steal the puck from Bryan Little and do the rest himself. Kesler fired a beautiful goal past Ondrej Pavelec. The Jets were able to regain the lead though as Michael Frolik was able to break out of a 7-game goalless drought. Eddie Lack played fantastic in the second and single-handedly kept the Canucks in it, making several highlight reel saves.
It was more of the same in the third as the Jets struggled to put away the Canucks. Jason Garrison scored on a perfectly placed slap shot to tie the game once again as the Canucks’ pressure began to escalate. Devin Setoguchi, however, was able to finally put the Jets ahead for good with less than 3 minutes to play. He also became the ninth Jets player to hit double digits in the goal category.
Tonight’s win was huge for the Jets. The Canucks are sitting in the final playoff spot in the west and beating them in regulation was absolutely imperative. The win put the Jets 6 points behind the Canucks for that elusive final playoff spot. It is still a steep uphill climb for the Jets to finally reach the postseason, but they are trending in the right direction. The Jets have found a way every year so far to give their fans hope going into the latter third of the season. It remains to be seen whether or not it finally comes to fruition. What happened tonight was a great start. It's worth noting that the Canucks were the lone team remaining that had never lost to the Jets 2.0. That is no more.
1) Setoguchi was able to finally get back on the scoresheet, but I really like how he is starting to contribute physically. It’s not what he’s being paid to do, but at least it appears that he is finding other ways to contribute and try to get himself going.
2) The Jets team still doesn’t seem to have a killer instinct. Being up 2-0 early is the perfect chance to step on an opponent’s throat. It was very similar in the Maple Leafs game, the Jets go up early then let their opponents claw their way back in.
3) I love the combination of Tobias Enstrom and Bogosian right now, it has really breathed some fresh air into Bogo’s game. That being said, I am so tired of Jacob Trouba playing with Mark Stuart. Trouba has been playing well considering who he is playing with, but at some point Trouba needs to be freed.
4) We are beating a dead horse here, but what is the deal with this commitment to Pavelec? Is this coming from above or is everybody blinded by the contract? Al Montoya may not be the future, but is Ondrej?
5) The depth on this team is so useless. The fourth line doesn’t even play anymore. Why would they? Besides re-signing Frolik, addressing the fourth line MUST be a priority this off-season.
6) This Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele combination is lights out. There is so much chemistry between them and it is a blast to watch.
7) Did anybody else know that there was a connection between TNSE and the Canucks? I just heard about this today.
8) Put Dustin Byfuglien back on defence. This could also solve the Trouba problem that I mentioned above. The mainstream media is lambasting is with this thought that it has been a successful experiment so far, but it really hasn’t. Buff is quickly growing stagnant up front and he is becoming more invisible.
9) The Sedins are so much worse when the other one isn’t around. It’s crazy. They are still good, but it isn’t the same. Twins are creepy.
10) I am so pleasantly surprised by the hockey IQ that both Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele have. We are seeing so much growth on a daily basis. The patience that they show every night in setting up plays combined with the killer instinct and desire to shoot has the potential to be lethal.