A road game that started with a bang ended in a fizzle for the Winnipeg Jets as a largely inconsistent performance saw them succumb to the Boston Bruins by a final score of 4-2.
The Jets put pressure on the Bruins mid-way through the first period, tallying two goals from Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien only 0:39 apart to give Winnipeg a 2-0 lead.
The defending Stanley Cup Champions proved unfazed by their slow start and scored four unanswered goals during the remaining fifty minutes to defeat the Jets in their first meeting this year.
Zdeno Chara got the scoring started for Boston as he blasted a slap shot through the glove hand of Ondrej Pavelec, making it a 2-1 game shortly before the opening period came to a close. Chara's powerplay goal was his fourth of the year and the towering Slovak now has 13 points in his last 13 games.
The Bruins would tie the game early in the second as Rich Peverley danced his way through the duo of Zach Bogosian and Dustin Byfuglien, ultimately setting up a Chris Kelly with a tap-in short-handed goal past an outstretched Ondrej Pavelec.
The play of Kelly would prove to be the difference as he scored his goal late in the second period, giving the Bruins their first lead of the game.
Winnipeg's efforts to regain momentum would be all for not as they fumbled their way through the majority of the third period and - despite posting 42 shots - never sustained enough pressure needed to rally for the games tying goal.
With tonight's win, the Bruins have now collected twenty-three (!) of a possible twenty-four points in their last twelve games, posting a record of 11-0-1 during that time. They now have twenty-nine points on the year, vaulting themselves into second place in the Eastern Conference and first place in the Northeast Division.
Conversely, the Jets finish their road trip with a record of 1-1-1 and now will return to Winnipeg with a few days off before hosting the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
For the Jets to remain in divisional contention, it will be imperative that they find success in the month of December where thirteen of their upcoming fifteen games will be played at home.
If fans are continually forced to bare witness to the same collapses that befell the Jets tonight, they could be watching a team punching an early ticket to the NHL Entry Draft Lottery as opposed to contending for the playoff bubble come April.
1st Period: 09:31 Winnipeg ES Goal, Evander Kane (10) (Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler); 10:10 Winnipeg ES Goal, Dustin Byfuglien (5) (Jim Slater, Jason Jaffray); 16:38 Boston PP Goal, Zdeno Chara (4) (David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg)
2nd Period: 07:28 Boston SH Goal, Chris Kelly (8) (Rich Peverley); 16:26 Boston ES Goal, Chris Kelly (9) (Benoit Pouliot, Rich Peverley)
3rd Period: 18:51 Boston EN Goal, Brad Marchand (8) (unassisted)
Shots: Winnipeg 42, Boston 36
3 Stars: 1. Chris Kelly 2. Tim Thomas 3. Rich Peverley
- After claiming the Stanley Cup last spring, Boston started off the season an underwhelming 3-7-0. Since November 1, they have gone 11-0-1, shooting up the Eastern Conference standings. With everyone talking about Sidney Crosby’s return in Pittsburgh, the Bruins are slipping under the radar as the NHL’s hottest team.
- To further that point, Boston's recent success is due large in part to their +28 goal differential. Plus 28! To put into perspective how damn impressive that is, the Penguins are second in this statistical column, with a differential of +18. That’s a full 10 goals behind Boston. Unreal.
- Tyler Seguin's rookie season was widely considered a flop as the youngster finished the season with 22 points; not even in the top 20 for rookie scoring. After gaining a new-found confidence stemming to back last year’s Cup run, he is currently top 15 in league scoring with 23 points in 22 games. He also boasts a league leading +19 rating. Mark it down; Seguin will be the best player selected in any of the past three NHL Entry drafts.
- God bless the TD BankNorth Garden in Boston. They are one of the few rinks left in the NHL who still employs an organist (Scottrade Center in St. Louis being the other I can say for certain does). The NHL needs more organ music.
- Evander Kane continues to light the lamp for the Jets. He has scored 4 goals in his last 5 games and is on pace for his first 30+ goal season in the NHL (on pace for 36). The Jets will need Kane's production to continue if they want to stay in contention in a tight Southeast Division.
- Winnipeg is 0-3-0 in back to back games this year. They have been outscored 11-3 in those games. That’s not just bad, it’s atrocious. Their compete level isn’t there.
- Congratulations to Nikolai Antropov for playing in his 700th career NHL game tonight. Winnipeggers may remember Antropov when he first participated in the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championships in Winnipeg, registering 8 points in 6 games for the Kazakhstan National Team.
- After scoring two first period goals only 0:39 apart, the Jets failed to score for the remainder of the game and giving up 4 consecutive Bruins goals. This seems to be status quo for Winnipeg as the team can show short bursts of brilliance followed by long stretches of absolute ineptitude. Not good enough, and there is plenty of blame to go around.
- I sound like a broken record as I repeat this after every game but thank you Ondrej Pavelec for giving the Jets a chance to win tonight; making 32 saves on 35 shots.
- Winnipeg’s special teams took a night off tonight and it ended up costing them the game. Not only did the penalty kill have to make 6 appearances tonight, holding Boston to a lone powerplay goal, but Winnipeg’s powerplay was nowhere to be found going 0/4 and allowing a Chris Kelly short-hander in the process.