Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 01/22/12 at 11:38 AM ET
Last night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers must have been a tough pill to swallow for the Winnipeg Jets, as their Southeast Division rivals managed to get both of a two possible points despite the Jets completely pouring it on from beginning to end. the Jets managed 44 shots on Scott Clemmensen, who stole this game for the Panthers with some help from a three-point game from Kris Versteeg.
With Evander Kane and Tim Stapleton out and Zach Bogosian and Patrice Cormier back in, it was tough to say what the Jets’ on-ice product was going to look like; despite peppering Clemmensen with fifteen shots in the first period, the Panthers headed to the dressing room after twenty minutes with a 2-0 lead. Nik Antropov score the only goal of the second period before tying the game early in the third on a beauty goal. The Panthers responded in short order before Alexander Burmistrov evened the score with just over seven minutes left to play. An intense five minutes of overtime solved nothing, and the shootout would go to seven rounds before Mikael Samuelsson beat Ondrej Pavelec after Burmistrov was unsuccessful at the other end.
This game was in large part won by the Panthers thanks to the red-hot Clemmensen, and the Jets should feel no shame in the way they played. Burmistrov and Antropov stepping up for the Jets was a surprise - they’ll need these talented but sometimes invisible players to stay engaged more regularly if they want to creep into a playoff spot anytime soon. Despite the injuries up front, Claude Noel leaned heavily on his top two lines instead of rolling a more balanced attack - Cormier, for example, played less than four minutes, while Bryan Little played over 24 minutes. I thought Eric Fehr might get a bit more ice time, but he still ended up under ten minutes.
Bogosian had nine of the Jets’ 44 shots and was a definite presence throughout the game. Tobias Enstrom, on the other hand, made a couple of brutal passing/clearing attempts that resulted in either goals or serious scoring chances by the Panthers. He kept his four-game point streak alive with a helper on the Burmistrov goal, but was otherwise more of a liability than anything.
Only four points separate the Jets and Panthers following last night’s game, yet both teams have the same number of wins - 22. The difference is that the Panthers have ten overtime points while the Jets only have six. The Panthers are in third in the East with a measly 54 points, the Washington Capitals are in eighth with 52 and the Jets are in tenth with 50 points. That’s the NHL for ya.
I’m off to California on business this week (I’m a wine writer, so business is good), so I’ll try to keep tabs on what’s going on back home. You know, so long as it doesn’t involve stories about star players allegedly stiffing restaurants. Thankfully for me, there are only two games this week - Monday’s tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes and the following night against the New York Rangers, both at home. The former should be a fairly easy two points and the latter a near-impossible feat given the opponent and the fact that the Jets haven’t won the tail end of a back-to-back yet this year.
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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.