The Winnipeg Jets took part in the second of three home pre-season games last night, and again they left the sold-out MTS Centre screaming their lungs out as the final buzzer sounded. The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-1 in front of 15,004 fans, and overall put on a very good show for the home-town crowd. There is no doubt that Winnipeg iced the better lineup of the two squads, as was evident by the 38-18 shot advantage for the home team, but the pesky Hurricanes tried their best to keep the crowd quiet all night. It almost worked too, but the Jets scored three times in the final 10 minutes to comeback and defeat the 'Canes and even up their pre-season record at 3-3.
After the Jets made 20 cuts the other day, it was time to give the bubble players another game to see exactly where they stand in the Jets hierarchy. Mark Scheifele, Jason Gregoire, Troy Bodie, Janne Pesonen, Ben Maxwell, Brett Festerling, Derek Meech and Randy Jones are all guys who I would consider to be on the bubble, and all eight guys were in the lineup. How did these "bubble" players do? How did the veterans look? Who do I think improved their chances to stick around? Will super-rookie Mark Scheifele make the team? Check out my review of the game after the jump.
0:54 CAR Tim Brent - Jiri Tlusty & Tomas Kaberle
10:45 WPG Evander Kane - Patrice Cormier & Zach Bogosian (PPG)
11:49 WPG Blake Wheeler - Bryan Little
19:27 WPG Evander Kane (2) - Mark Scheifele & Zach Bogosian (ENG)
- The Jets iced a pretty competitive roster this evening, as the expected top-line of Wheeler-Little-Ladd played together and they were fantastic. I really think that this line could do some damage all year. Little is a shifty little guy who I really thought looked great. Wheeler's snipe on the second goal was as good of a shot as you'll see, and Ladd looked good again.
- Evander Kane scored two goals tonight, including the empty netter, and he was flying all night. He lined up with Mark Scheifele and Jason Gregoire for most of the evening, and this line had a lot of chances. I really liked Scheifele's game, as he always seems to be in the right spot at the right time and could have had a goal or two tonight as well. I'm beginning to think that he starts the year with the Jets and gets his nine games. After that, who knows. Unfortunately for Gregoire, I didn't notice him as much and he's likely bound for St. John's.
- Alexander Burmistrov and Nik Antropov both looked great tonight. I mentioned in my previous review that Antropov looked slow and lazy, but tonight he was involved and looked really solid. I really like that Burmistrov kid as well, he is a talented youngster to be sure.
- Troy Bodie played another strong game. I truly believe that he may have played himself onto the team as either a 4th liner or the 13th forward. He is big, he can fight, and he is seldom in the wrong position defensively. I'm going to go out on the limb and suggest that Bodie makes the squad.
- Ben Maxwell and Patrice Cormier were both solid. Neither really jumped out and screamed to be noticed, but as players trying to earn spots in the bottom-6, I thought they were good defensively and played a rough and tumble game. Cormier's pass to Kane on the Power-Play was a beauty, and I'm leaning toward him making the big team. But if the 4th line ends up to consist of Bodie, Maxwell and Cormier, I'd be okay with that.
- Janne Pesonen didn't stick out to me at all in either of the games I watched. I am unsure what his future holds, but I doubt it is with the big club here in Winnipeg.
- The three d-men guaranteed to make the team, Zach Bogosian, Mark Stuart and Ron Hainsey, were all excellent. Bogosian had two helpers and was all over the ice, Stuart played a rough-and-tumble game and Hainsey was great defensively. All three looked very good.
- Brett Festerling, Derek Meech and Randy Jones were also very good. Of the three, I would suggest that Festerling was the most noticeable in a good way, as he made some nice hits and looked solid in the Jets end. Jones and Meech were solid in the fact that they didn't make any mistakes. I really don't know which of these three, four if you count Paul Postma, will be the 7th defender. Winnipeg certainly has depth on the blue-line, but waivers will make it interesting. Jones is on a one-way deal worth $1.1M, so I wonder if it's his to lose.
- Chris Mason looked very good. He was beat clean on the Tim Brent breakaway, as he bit hard on a nice shoulder fake, but overall his game was solid. Good rebound control, calm demeanor. I liked his game.