Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 02/18/12 at 01:57 PM ET
The Winnipeg Jets looked shaky at times, but in the end they had what they needed to beat the Bruins 4-2 at home, successfully winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. And it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time – with a stretch of games at home through February and just a couple points back from a playoff spot, it was do or die time for the Jets.
And, uh, do they did. Bryan Little had two goals and Blake Wheeler had a goal and two helpers as the two did enough damage to the Bruins to put the game out of reach. While he didn’t have as many goals as Little, Wheeler was the force to be reckoned with, as he skated hard all night and managed to find the spaces through which to get Bryan Little the puck. He showed similar flashes of brilliance Thursday night; hopefully the two performances weren’t just ‘cause he was playing his alumni team and in his alumni state, respectively.
Alexander Burmistrov potted his second in two nights as he laced a beauty of a wrister over the shoulder of Tuukka Rask to open the scoring the second period. He’s proving to be a key asset on the Kane/Burmi/Wellwood line for the Jets. Kane is by definition a power forward, while Wellwood is the exact opposite – a dipsy doodle kind of guy that still seems terrified to go into the corner with anyone. Burmistrov has the finesse of Wellwood but is far grittier, with great hands as was exemplified by his goal tonight – a thing of beauty.
It looked dire at times for the Jets, but they managed to react well to the adversity the Bs piled on throughout the game. The penalty kill that was passive Thursday night was in turn aggressive against the Bruins, and the Bs rarely even managed to get set up on the power play. The Jets’ power play still looked a bit weak, with too many pretty passes – here they missed Zach Bogosian’s consistent point shots, as he was again sidelined because of an upper body injury.
Lost in all the excitement of the production of the Jets’ forwards was the play of Ondrej Pavelec, who was solid throughout the night and turned away 31 of 33 for the win. He made a couple of absolutely clutch saves that kept the Jets ahead later in the game, and was good enough to keep the Bruins off the scoresheet throughout the first period when they were swarming like mad.
The Jets are now two points out of a playoff spot, although pretty much everyone in the league except for seventh-place Ottawa have at least one game in hand (ninth-place Washington and third-place Florida each have three games in hand, while eighth-place Toronto has two). The Jets need to keep pounding on opponents that come to the MTS Centre (Colorado Sunday and Philadelphia Tuesday) if there’s to be any hope of making the post-season.
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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.