Benny and the Jets
Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild - a game the Jets won 2-1 - was a great example of how a low-scoring game can still be exciting to watch. Energized fans, a great transition game by both teams and some stellar goaltending made it hard to look away.
Last night’s 1-0 loss to the Washington Capitals falls on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to low-scoring games - the MTS Centre crowd wasn’t a factor and both teams seemed slightly listless all the way through. Confession - for a few minutes in the third period, I actually fell asleep while watching the game. I woke up when Alexander Ovechkin potted the game’s loan goal with less than two minutes to play - either that or I think maybe my snoring woke me up around that time. Regardless, I hit rewind on my PVR and got myself caught up on what I had missed while napping. It wasn’t much.
Despite being down a few forwards due to injury, the Winnipeg Jets looked impressive against the league-leading Minnesota Wild Tuesday night, squeaking out a 2-1 win in a real thriller. Zach Bogosian scored his first goal to tie the game before Bryan Little extended his goal streak to four games off a savvy pass by Dustin Byfuglien to net the winner.
According to the usual suspects on Twitter, the Winnipeg Jets have claimed Finnish winger Antti Miettinen off re-entry waivers from the KHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning had signed him to a two-year, $3 million contract, but won’t get to see him in a Bolts jersey in the foreseeable future.
With Nik Antropov, Eric Fehr and Alexander Burmistrov out of the lineup tonight against the Minnesota Wild, the Jets will need all the healthy bodies they can get. He won’t be in the lineup tonight (obviously), so the Jets will likely be short up front. Ron Hainsey, however, is back tonight, meaning the defence will get some much-needed help.
I don’t know a ton about him, but he seems like a decent enough pick-up. Miettinen will be the most popular Finnish player in Winnipeg for exactly four days, when Teemu Selanne and the Anaheim Ducks visit the MTS Centre. Enjoy it while you can, bud.
Only four Detroit Red Wings were kept off the score sheet last night in a 7-1 thrashing of the Winnipeg Jets. In contrast, every member of the Jets was a minus save for Tanner Glass and Jason Jaffray, with Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane “leading” the charge at -4 apiece. Ouch.
Bryan Little’s individual effort - win the faceoff in the neutral zone, bust in over the blue line and rifle the puck past Tuukka Rask - proved to be the game-winner, but it was Ondrej Pavelec that was the real difference-maker in the Jets’ stunning 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins. The Jets halted the Bruins from extending a streak in which they earned 29 of a possible 30 points in the last 15 games; while the loss won’t put the Bs out of playoff contention, the win should further bolster the morale of the Winnipeg squad that has now won three straight and has a pile of home games on tap this month.
The Jets picked up where they left off Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes, beating the New Jersey Devils 4-2 and putting together consecutive wins that move them within one point of a playoff spot. In a game where the Jets put together another strong team effort, fans can only hope that the team is gelling the way their game play might indicate with just over a quarter of the season in the books.
In a markedly better effort than Tuesday’s loss to the Ottawa Senators, the Winnipeg Jets (current, not former) unleashed a great team effort against the Phoenix Coyotes, blanking the desert dogs 1-0 in front of a boisterous but confusing crowd (more on this later). This was the best team effort I’ve seen the Jets put together over sixty minutes. Ondrej Pavelec was in fine form, turning away all 33 shots in a performance that was in complete contrast to this mediocre outing on Tuesday. He made some absolutely clutch saves when he needed to, and even got had of the strangest bounces I’ve ever seen go his way. Check it out here.
The Jets lost their third straight on Tuesday night, falling 6-4 to the Ottawa Senators in a match that had a few modest highlights: two goals each by the Sens’ Milan Michalek and Zack Smith, a pair by the Jets’ red-hot Evander Kane, and an unbelievable 12 shots (and no goals) in one game by Dustin Byfuglien. In a month full of ugly lip hair, it was nice to see the familiar (yet graying) moustache of Senators coach/former Winnipeg Jet Paul MacLean back in town as well.
The Winnipeg Jets have played 23 games so far this year, all but eight of which have been on the road. They’re set to settle in at the MTS Centre for most of December, with 13 of 15 games at home throughout the month. As a long-time Montreal Canadiens fan, I’m pretty pumped to have scored a pair of tickets to the December 22 game against the Habs (I tried, to no avail, to get tickets to the home opener).
So while tonight’s game is against the middling Ottawa Senators - not a team I’m particularly fond of - it will hold a great deal of meaning for me. Tonight I’m heading to my first NHL regular season game in fifteen years. I’ve been hoping I’d get to a game sooner rather than later so I can write about the atmosphere surrounding (and experience of) seeing the Jets play here in Winnipeg, so expect my thoughts either later tonight or at some point tomorrow.
In a game that had few exciting moments, the Winnipeg Jets managed to get the upper hand on division rival Carolina Hurricanes, winning the game 3-1 to collect two crucial road points and move
to a .500 record
closer to a .500 record (9-9-4) [EDIT: thanks to PuckStopsHere for the catch on my momentary lapse of reason - this, of course, is NOT .500 hockey]. I feared the worst when the Jets took two penalties in the first five minutes of the game, but they managed to calm it down and play a level-headed, responsible game.
About Benny and the Jets
Fifteen years ago, Ben's beloved Winnipeg Jets left town. He begrudgingly turned to the Montreal Canadiens for comfort and found none, and is now struggling to find a place in his heart for the Winnipeg Jets v2.0.
Ben is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer that writes a lot about wine and beer. Expect his son to be drafted into the NHL in 2025.