Howdy! This is a new feature we'll be running giving overviews and analysis, as well as how (if at all) the outcomes of the nights games affect the Jets.
9 games on the docket tonight, with some decent results for the Jets. Tonight also saw the end of an NHL record streak for home wins. Speaking of home wins, only 2 of the 9 home teams prevailed tonight.
TML dropping points is always a good thing, but with the opportunity for the Jets to leapfrog them into 8th in the Conference it was even better as strong performances by Patrick Marleau (2 goals) and Antti Niemi (29 saves) saw teh Sharks edge the Leafs in T.O., which kept the Leafs at 65 points.
The Ducks have slowly crept back into the playoff picture, having gone 7-1-2 in their last 10. While they remain in 13th in the Western Conference they sit just 4 points back of 8th place Dallas.
This game was a duel of goalies, and had to be settled the old fashioned way....in a stinking skills competition, where Saku Koivu would score the only goal to give the Ducks the win. Both Jonas Hiller and Justin Peters played very well in this game.
The dastardly Panthers managed to pick up a loser point as they scored late to force OT and Shootout, as the Wild rode the stellar play of Niklas Backstrom and a pair of shootout goals to victory. Backstrom has picked up 89 saves in his last 2 games, both leading to Minnesota wins. The Panthers would put 43 shots on goal, but only Mikael Samuelsson and Sean Bergenheim would score. Matt Cullen would score in regulation and shootout, Kyle Brodziak had the other goal in regulation while shootout specialist Erik Christensen did what he does best.
5 more games after THE JUMP
The NHL record streak for home wins has come to a halt, as a visiting team prevailed at Joe Louis Arena for the first time since November 3, when the Flames were in town. Since then 23 teams had come into the Joe and lost. But the 'Showdown in Motown' proved to be a dandy of a game and saw the visitors prevail as the top 2 teams in the West duked it out. Roberto Luongo and Jimmy Howard battled it out in net, with Lou emerging victorious after turning aside all 3 shooters in the skills competition. Detroit got depth scoring from Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm and newly acquired Kyle Quincey, while the Canucks got two from Daniel Sedion with Cody Hodgson notching the other.
The next opponent of the Jets prevailed in Music City in shootout Thursday night, as Jaroslav Halak emerged victorious over Pekka Rinne in a battle of teams who don't allow a lot of goals. T.J Oshie scored the shootout winner, but honestly it's not the scoring of the Blues that concerns me, it's their defensive prowess. Hopefully the Jets and their suddenly explosive offense can find a way to solve the Blues on Saturday afternoon.
In a battle of former Central Division rival that I played against each other countless time on NHL '96, the Stars would emerge victorious in the Windy City, as Chicago was unable to do anything without their star Captain Serious (known in Winnipeg as Jonathan Toews). Actually the Hawks all but dominated the first 40 minutes and lead after 2 on a Marian Hossa goal, but a rally and fantabulous goaltending by a player I've never heard of before (where did Richard Bachman come from?) let the Stars prevail tonight.
Wow there's a lot of shootouts to write about. The hot as a desert Coyotes prevailed in the skills competition via the stick of the ageless wonder, Ray Whitney. Whitney also scored in regulation to help the Yotes boost their February record to 9-0-1, which sees them into 7th spot in the West. Not bad for a team owned by the league. Calagary did well to score late and get a point out of this which puts them in 9th, only behind the Stars via the tiebreak.
Well, I'm glad to see that the Flyers lost, because of that bitter pill endured on Tuesday. Devan Dubnyk stood on his head, while Jordan Eberle lead the charge for the Oilers as 35 Flyer shots failed to find the net, while Eberele put up a goal and an assist, while Taylor Hall record the game winner. It's a victory for Edmonton, but ultimately it looks like another high draft pick next year as they sit 29th overall at this point. Maybe they should draft a defenseman...
Whhhhhattt?! Winnipeg is on top?! Sure we've played 4 more games, but dammit for today we're on top and that's all that matters. That was a 4 point game the Jets played tonight and it has to sting the Bolts a bit. Florida only picking up a point against Minnesota was a positive too.
AIH 3 Star Selections:
1) Devin Dubnyk. Shutout against Philly
2) Patrick Marleau. Both goals against Toronto
3) Andrew Ladd. I can't believe I'm giving him this, but he notched 3 points tonight.
Honourable mentions: The 5 guys who scored the shootout winning goals
AIH Highlight of the Night:
Spectacular diving save by the Stars rookie netminder. He was really the only reason Dallas won tonight.
That's it for tonight, hope to see you all back here tomorrow. Until then...