Haters gonna hate. But Evander don't care.
Evander Kane took it upon himself to lead his Winnipeg Jets over the Carolina Hurricanes, as his goal and three assists staked the good guys to a 4-1 victory in Raleigh. While it didn't hurt that Ondrej Pavelec was again a difference maker, the fact remains that secondary scoring has been an issue for the Jets all season but Kane was able (see what I did there?!?!) to provide it in an incredibly important game.
The game didn't start out great for them, however, as Jiri Tlusty was able to get one by Pavelec just one second after a penalty expired to give the home team the 1-0 lead 6:06 into the first. The lead wouldn't make it to the intermission, however, as Evander Kane fed Olli Jokinen on an ugly yet effective 2-on-1 goal to tie the game at the 13:44 mark. The period would end with the 1-1 score, and the visiting team out-shot the Canes 14-13 in the frame.
The second period was where the Jets were able to blow it wide open, as a power-play goal by Tobias Enstrom and a controversial goal by Nikolai Antropov gave the visitors the 3-1 lead through two. Evander Kane assisted on both goals, giving him three on the night, and I guess you could say that the goal by Antro was fortunate as the puck was very close to being hit by a stick above the cross-bar. Luckily, the war-room didn't overrule the call on the ice of a goal. Despite scoring both goals, the Jets were out-shot 16-15 in the frame and shots were tied at 29 through two.
The third was a well-played period by the Jets, as there were only a few good chances for the Canes but Pavelec was equal to the task every time. And the game was put on ice when a broken play resulted in an own-goal by Jamie McBain, credited to Kane for his 4th point of the night. Carolina outshot the Jets 10-6 in the final stanza and 39-35 in the game, but the 4-1 score showed that the Jets were the better team on the night.
- As good as the top-line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler have been of late, they combined for zero points tonight. Not that they played poorly. It's just nice to see that some secondary scoring was provided to help give them the night off, production-wise. Possession-wise, however, they dominated.
- I'll be the first to admit that Ondrej Pavelec was a stud tonight. He stopped 38 of 39 shots for a 0.974 save percentage, and he made a lot of big important saves when the game was still up for grabs. I'm very hard on Pav for his overall numbers, but I love it when he's great. And he was great tonight.
- #freeburmi. Alex Burmistrov had an assist, was +1, and played 15:40 tonight while getting some shifts on both the 2nd and 4th line. I thought he looked very solid, and I hope that he's playing himself back into coach Noel's good books.
- Hmm. Apparantely Ron Hainsey isn't awful, when he's the #4 d-man playing behind Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom while lining up alongside Zach Bogosian. Ronny and Bogo were both +3 on the night, and Hainsey even added an assist on the opening goal by Jokinen. Having said that, I still think we should trade him if he's in demand, as the price should be sky-high for d-men...
- Speaking of Bogo, he led the team in ice-time with 23:07, which makes me incredibly happy. Buff was second at 22:01, while Ron Ron and Toby were the only other guys to play over 20 minutes (21:30 and 20:32, respectively)
- Evander Kane was the offensive star of the night, and saw the most TOI among forwards with 19:39, while Wheeler (19:03), Little (19:00) and Ladd (18:14) were next in line. Now that's rolling the lines.
- Speaking of TOI, Chris Thorburn (6:50) and Patrice Cormier (6:07) were the only Jets to play less than 10 minutes. This is how teams should play, by having contributions from everybody instead of a select few.
- Jeff Skinner led the Canes in shots with 10(!), and also led all Carolina forwards with 22:18. That dude was everywhere. Wow. I like that kid a lot.
- Imagine that: the Jets won the special teams battle and won the game as well. Weird. Winnipeg killed off all three power-plays against, while scoring once on their two attempts. Toby is a welcome addition to the power-play, as they've scored a goal in each game on the PP since he's been back.
- The win puts the Jets up 6 points on Carolina, but the Capitals loss to the Islanders was equally important as they remain 7 points back. Winnipeg is only 5 points up on the 8th-place Rangers, but they are well out in front of the Southeast Division and the 3rd-seed in the Eastern Conference. To say that tonight's clean win was huge would be an understatement.