The Winnipeg Jets may not make the playoffs this season, but if they do there likely isn't one team that will want to enter the MTS Centre as an opponent. The barn was packed and ready to explode last night, and the Jets gave their rabid fans a chance to do so often during their 4-2 victory over the defending champion Boston Bruins. Since it was the nationally televised game on TSN, the team and the crowd must have put on quite the show for the rest of Canada. I am assuming that because I didn't watch it on TV because I was in the building, and I've never heard it louder then during that final-minute standing ovation. I'm also happy that we were able to put on a show for Queen Elizabeth II, who graced the barn with her presence. Great stuff there!
Alexander Burmistrov opened the scoring for the home team with his second in two nights, and then began the Blake Wheeler show. WIth the obvious motivation of playing against his former mates running high, Wheels scored the Jets second goal and then had the primary assists on Bryan Little's pair of goals in the third to earn the 1st Star on the night. Ondrej Pavelec was solid when he needed to be, and the defense sans Zach Bogosian held it together with a pretty solid night. Good thing too, as Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman was in the building scoping out some defenders...
The win, which was their first victory all season in the second game of the back-to-back, improved the Jets record to 28-26-6 for 62 points and gets them right back in the playoff mix. For the time being the Jets remain in 10th spot in the East, but they are only one point behind the Washington Capitals for 9th, two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for 8th, and three points behind Florida Panthers for 3rd in the conference. Sure, all of these teams have multiple games in hand on the Jets, but don't forget that last night was the first of eight straight home games at the MTS Centre. The four points gained in the past two evenings certainly has made things interesting.
So now we put on our spectator pants this Saturday and root against some teams. Washington is in Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning and Toronto takes on the Vancouver Canucks this evening. With some assistance from Stamkos and the Sedin twins, it is possible that the Jets could take over the 8th spot in the East tomorrow afternoon with a win over the Avalanche. I think I have an old Sedin jersey around here somewhere...
Recap and game thoughts after the jump.
1st Period: No Scoring
2nd Period: 1:59 WPG Alexander Burmistrov 12 (Mark Stuart, Kyle Wellwood) 6:10 BOS Jordan Caron 3 (Chris Kelly) 15:50 WPG Blake Wheeler 11 (Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane)
3rd Period: 0:49 BOS David Krejci 12 (Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic) 4:16 WPG Bryan Little 15 (Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd) 6:20 WPG Bryan Little 16 (Blake Wheeler, Tobias Enstrom)
Shots: BOS 33 WPG 25
3 Stars: 1) Blake Wheeler 2) Ondrej Pavelec 3) Bryan Little
Thoughts from the Tarmac:
- That is the best that Ladd's Little Wheeler has looked in some time. They were flying in the 3rd period, and it was great to see some offense finally provided from this trio. They could have had a few more, too.
- The line of Kane, Burmistrov and Wellwood also looked good again, as each of them added a point and looked dangerous at times. Perhaps Noel has finally found the top-6 mix that he's been looking for, as the Jets scored SEVEN goals in two games.
- Since Nik Antropov has been demoted to the 4th line, I've finally seen him use his body to knock some players around. Perhaps the reduced ice-time has given him more energy when he is out there, as he's been much better. Noel certainly noticed, as he had him out in the 3rd period on a scoring line late in the game.
- I thought that the GST line did a really nice job against Krejci, Lucic and Seguin., which was the matchup Noel obviously had in mind. I really hope Chevy resigned Tanner Glass and Jim Slater. Especially after the tweets that each player posted after the game last night:
"Who else saw the Queen during the anthem? She had the royal wave down pat. Old school Winnipeg - I love it." @TGlass15
"Best thing I've ever seen in the stands tonight. The Queen and 3 Mounties. Unreal. Love being apart of the Winnipeg Jets." @slaterjim
- The boys managed to take advantage of a shaky start from Tuuka Rask. He just didn't look solid last night, and he looked downright foolish on Burmistrov's goal as he got all twisted up.
- I HATE Brad Marchand. The best part of yesterday though for me was sitting beside a Bruins fan in the stands who says that he can't stand Marchand either. You know you are a piece of crap when your own fans hate you.
- Zach Bogosian wasn't in the lineup, but he still liked what he saw from both the team and the crowd according to his tweet after the game:
"Watching the video on the jumbotron before the game gives me goose bumps, unreal atmosphere tonight, like always. great win by the boys." @Bogogo4
- I thought that our collection of d-men did a nice job. Tough break for Buff when his stick broke, and then the resulting defensive breakdown cost the Jets the second Bruins goal. I even thought Randy Jones and Ron Hainsey looked okay. Did I just say that?
- I was pretty sour on the Jets after that disgusting showing earlier this week against the Islanders, but boy did they turn it around the past two games. How they can play so badly against the Isles but play so well against the Bruins boggles my mind. Maybe we do play down to our opponent? We've beaten the Bruins and Flyers multiple times, but have lost to the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes. Weird.
- One win down during this critical 8-game homestand. I figure we need at least six wins out of them to have any shot here, and we couldn't have started better after beating a solid Bruins team. The Avalanche, Flyers, Lightning, Blues and Oilers are the next five opponents. A record of 3-1-1 or 4-1 would do us a world of good.