Happy New Year! Especially if you are a Jets fan. 2011 will go down as one of the best years in Winnipeg sports history, and the Jets made sure that it ended on a winning note. The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 3-2 on Hockey Night in Canada last night, denying Manitoba-native James Reimer a victory in his home province. Blake Wheeler's 2nd period power-play goal held up as the winner, and the sold-out and very vocal MTS Centre crowd went home happy to party even more in the later hours of the night.
The Jets improved their record to 19-14-5 and are now at 43 points, which keeps them tied for 6th in the Eastern Conference but only one point up on the 9th-place Washington Capitals. The Jets set a franchise record this December, going 10-4-1 for the month and picking up 21 important points in the standings.
1st Period: 13:59 TOR Clarke MacArthur 11 (PP) (Carl Gunnarsson, Dion Phaneuf)
2nd Period: 2:51 WPG Zach Bogosian 3 (PP) (Tobias Enstrom, Antti Miettinen) 5:26 WPG Andrew Ladd 12 (Kyle Wellwood, Johnny Oduya) 7:07 TOR Phil Kessel 21 (Tim Connolly, Dion Phaneuf) 10:51 WPG Blake Wheeler 6 (PP) (Ron Hainsey, Antti Miettinen)
3rd Period: No Scoring
Shots: WPG 35 TOR 24
3 Stars: 1. Blake Wheeler 2. Zach Bogosian 3. Phil Kessel
Thoughts from the Tarmac:
- I'll be brief here, because it's New Years and I need to be at the airport in a few hours. The building was rocking again tonight, and it was a blast being in the MTS Centre again this evening. The "Leafs Suck" chants were awesome, and even local-boy James Reimer couldn't avoid the "Reimer, Reimer" chants. Awesome job again crowd.
- Tobias Enstrom is fantastic. He always is in the right position, rarely gets beat 1-on-1, and quietly added another power-play assist this evening. I love this guy.
- Antti Miettinen was great tonight. He added two power-play assists, quickly quieting my initial thought of "Why the hell is Miettinen out there on the PP?" His play 5-on-5 was good, too. Great waiver-wire pickup.
- Evander Kane may not have got on the scoresheet, but man is he fun to watch. Kane and Phaneuf were at each other all game, and Kane and his linemates Blake Wheeler and Tim Stapleton looked dangerous.
- Kyle Wellwood took a slapshot tonight. You read that correctly. I actually thought that he was really good again, and his feed down low for Ladd's tap-in was gorgeous.
- Mark Flood struggled this evening in my opinion. With Randy Jones activated off the IR today, I am thinking that he'll slot in over Flood next game.
- Zach Bogosian continues to impress. He again led the squad in ice-time (23:14), and added his 3rd goal of the season, a rocket from the point on the power-play. He still seems to be flourishing here in Winnipeg.
- Eric Fehr is struggling. Though his 4th line, with Patrice Cormier and Chris Thorborn, looked okay, but Fehr should be playing more then 7:54 per game. If he isn't 100%, why is he out there?
- Ondrej Pavelec was solid when he needed to be, although he didn't face that many shots.
- Another game in December, and another win. 10 wins this month. And we did this one without Dustin Byfuglien, Bryan Little and Jim Slater. That is impressive.
- One more time - HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2011 was the Year of the Jets - here is to 2012 - the Year of the Playoffs???