The Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks are both fighting for their playoff lives, but the need for wins is a little greater on the Winnipeg side. The Jets entered the contest trailing both the Los Angles Kings and Calgary Flames in their quest for the playoffs, but they remained in control of their own destiny. Their 5-4 win keeps them in position of control.
That was a crazy game. The Jets once again controlled the play according to the possession numbers. This game wasn't formulaic though. Things were actually pretty even after an early surge by the Jets with plenty of chances at both ends.
Jiri Tlusty and Jim Slater combined to give the Jets and early lead. Slats got the goal, but it came off some great work by Jiri Tlusty. Simple, smart plays to free up ice for linemates. How nice is it to have a player of this ilk on the 4th line? He created a number of chances this afternoon.
Tlusty on the 4th line is about more than Tlusty though. All of Kevin Cheveldayoff's late season additions have produced down the stretch, with each producing at a half point per game clip or better. For some perspective, compare that to the numbers that Matt Halischuk, Anthony Peluso and TJ Galiardi were posting.
Jiri Tlusty and Lee Stempniak: 16 points in 30 man games
Matt Halischuk, Anthony Peluso and TJ Galiargi: 10 points in 131 man games
Speaking of depth, the Jets third goal was the result of a gorgeous pass by the recently healthy Mathieu Perreault. It was a tape to tape feed - through traffic - onto the stick of Lee Stempniak for an easy tip in. Gorgeous feed! Stemp's second goal was even prettier. Matty P picked up an assist there too.
The Jets finally have three scoring lines!
Finding three defensive pairs seems to be a little bit more of a problem. This isn't really a problem when they have their full compliment of defenders in the lineup, but Buff's absence combined with the late injury to Toby Enstrom turns a strength into a question mark.
Will Ben Chiarot be back in time for the Jets next outing?
Harri-Pardy was a pile of yuck across the first half of the game. There were some ugly turnovers and some uglier scrambles. I have nothing against Adam Pardy or Jay Harrison, but they can't skate and that puts them in a tough spot when it comes to moving the puck.
Breakdowns and odd man rushes keep coming and coming. These will happen against good teams, no team is immune. Still, they make me hella nervous.
Ondrej Pavelec didn't have his strongest showing in this game. He lost both the puck and his net a bunch early. He wasn't presented with an easy game by any means, but he isn't playing the kind of hockey that earned him accolades last month. This marks three straight games with a save percentage on the wrong side of .900. The Jets need more from their goalies, they may need a steal between here and the end of the regular season.
Later tonight, the Calgary Flames take on the Edmonton Oilers and the LA Kings take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Kings and Flames will both be favored, but an upset would be really, really nice.