Please, NBC, take note: put this team on U.S. national television more often. You think Americans are secretly jealous of international soccer chants (which they are)? Then they'll love the atmosphere of a game at the MTS Centre. The place was absolutely rocking tonight, and the Jets were more than happy to oblige. Thanks to a playmaker by saucer-pass aficionado Bryan Little, electric goals by Blake Wheeler and Chris Thorburn, and 23 saves by the O.P.P., the Jets blew the lid off this mother in the 3rd period.
The course of play was very back-and-forth for the first two periods, with the chances leaning towards the Jets, but in the final period something clicked, leading to a flurry of opportunities that culminated in great goals by Wheels and Thor. After a bit of a scramble in the final 3 minutes, Evander Kane clanged one off the outside of the empty cage (25 pushups for that), and Grant Clitsome drew a penalty, and the rest was awesome history. We moved up 3 points on the Capitals (though they have two games in hand).
1st Period: 13:45 Winnipeg ES Goal, Andrew Ladd 21 (Bryan Little 16)
2nd Period: 19:25 Buffalo ES Goal, Corey Tropp 2 (Matt Ellis 5, Brad Boyes 12)
3rd Period: 8:02 Winnipeg ES Goal, Blake Wheeler 15 (Bryan Little 17); 10:54 Winnipeg ES Goal, Chris Thorburn 4 (Bryan Little 18, Tobias Enstrom 19)
Shots: Winnipeg 31, Buffalo 24
3 Stars: 3. Blake Wheeler 2. Tobias Enstrom 1. Bryan Little
Advanced Stats Recap: Courtesy of Cam Charron. Wow Bryan Little. Wow Jets.
Thoughts From the Tarmac
- Grant Clitsome played a serviceable game, making a few good plays out there and not crapping the bed. In other words, he did better than some other Jets defencemen (present and past) I dare not mention...
- Seriously, Little put on a passing clinic. The Ladd goal was a rebound, but the other two were savvy passes, among a number that he made during the game.
- The Jets defencemen were successfully disruptive of the Buffalo forwards, blocking shots and intercepting passes that would otherwise have put considerably more pressure on Ondrej Pavelec. What did get through was met by the frenetic O.P.P., who made me hella nervous at times but he pulled through in the end. Doesn't put me at ease, though.
- Thorburn's run around Robyn Regehr and nifty little deke on Ryan Miller was a beaut. The guy doesn't look it most nights, but I'll be damned if he can't unleash one every once in a while.
- Wheeler breakaway, top cheese. Rings the bell. Be merry. G'night.