Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 03/15/12 at 01:44 PM ET
Sometimes life gets in the way of staying on top of all things Jets for this little corner of the Internet, and the past week has been a perfect example of that. My five year-old daughter had strep last week, which threw my work/writing/life schedule into a state of disarray – hence the fact that I never got around to writing about the Winnipeg Jets’ dismal road trip out west. Apologies.
The team came away with little to show for the jaunt, at least on the positive side of things. The Jets lost their grip on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, dropping below Washington and Buffalo as those teams managed to put up points when they most needed ‘em. The special teams on that two-game trip were brutal, with the power play going 0 for 5 and the penalty kill giving up a goal on each of the Flames’ three power plays Friday night. Oh, and Ryan Kesler potted a shorthanded goal the night before. Ouch.
Both those games could have been blowouts – the Canucks game was close only because of Ondrej Pavelec, while the Flames got out to an early 3-0 lead and hung on for the win in regulation.
The Jets didn’t play again until last night – with so many days off and playing the red-hot Dallas Stars (who had beaten the Minnesota Wild the night before and had won 10 of their last 11), this was a game that could have easily gone in one of many directions.
Interestingly, the Jets often manage to come up big at home against teams that are on a roll, and last night was no exception, with Winnipeg coming out on the right end of a 5-2 game. With Zach Bogosian out and Dustin Byfuglien in and out of practices throughout the week, the Jets’ blue line situation had a big question mark hanging over it.
There were intangibles up front as well – Chris Thorburn is on the shelf for around three weeks with what is being described as “lower body injury,” so Eric Fehr drew in to fill his spot. If Fehr was hoping to make a statement that he should be a permanent fixture in the Jets’ lineup, he couldn’t have done much better. Fehr stole the puck from Stars’ defenceman Adam Pardy and ripped one over the shoulder of Richard Bachman to put the Jets ahead 3-0 in the second period. It would prove to be the game winner - just Fehr’s second goal of the year as he’s struggled to return to form because of shoulder issues.
Andrew Ladd had two goals to bring him to 23 for the year, second on the Jets in that department only to Evander Kane, who nabbed his 28th last night. Nik Antropov had a strong showing on the Jets’ quasi-fourth line, starting off the scoring in the first and parking his big body in front of the net often. Dustin Byfuglien logged just over 20 minutes of ice time last night – relatively low for him – as Claude Noel rolled all six of their d-men fairly evenly. Byfuglien looked like he was labouring a bit a couple of times when skating back to collect the puck when it was iced – something seems a little off there. No matter - Zach Bogosian is said to be returning Friday against the Washington Capitals, so the distribution of ice time will surely be tweaked.
As for the Stars, they certainly had their chances – Michael Ryder rung one off the crossbar at one point, and had five shots in total, while Loui Eriksson scored both the Stars’ goals. They seemed to have trouble capitalizing on loose/bouncing pucks around Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec, who was quick to pounce on ‘em.
Oh yes, and with less than three minutes left in the game, a skirmish started, likely sparked by an earlier snow shower on Pavelec by Mike Ribeiro. Then as Tanner Glass and Adam Burish were headed to the penalty box, this happened:
Glass and Burish each got two and ten-minute penalties, while Burish got an extra two for tossing the glove. Vernon Fiddler also got a misconduct in the scrum.
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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.