Benny and the Jets
Entries with the tag: buffalo sabres
The Winnipeg Jets dug deep on Friday night and did what most thought was impossible, overcoming a 3-0 deficit against the Washington Capitals and winning the game 4-3 in overtime. A regulation win would have been cleaner in terms of the standings, what with Washington only a few points ahead of the Jets, but it was an important road win nonetheless and kept the team’s slim playoff chances alive.
For 40 minutes, the Winnipeg Jets-Carolina Hurricanes game was a slightly loose and fairly unpredictable game. Then, like they have many times before this year, the Jets came out completely flat in the third period, gave up two goals and lost – in regulation, no less – 4-3. To say this was a must-win game for the Jets is akin to using one any hockey cliché – redundant and/or completely obvious.
With a regulation loss, the Jets remain tied with the Buffalo Sabres with 76 points, and two points back of the Washington Capitals. The Capitals lost against the Chicago Blackhawks, so a win by the Jets would have evened them in the points department. The loss means the Jets’ playoff chances just got much slimmer.
The intensity in the MTS Centre last night was as high as it’s been all year – playoff level, almost. Perhaps that’s fitting, as the Jets may only almost make the playoffs. But their 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals was crucial in any attempt to claw their way back into the mix – they’re now two points back on the Caps and a point ahead of the Buffalo Sabres for that eighth playoff spot.
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.
While Monday night’s tilt against the Buffalo Sabres was anything but memorable when it came to the play on the ice, there was certainly more of a buzz than normal at the MTS Centre – if that’s possible. The Jets were up against a red-hot Eastern Conference rival whose goalie had just earned the previous week’s first star.
The Sabres managed to tie the game with less than a minute left in the second period, sending the Jets to the dressing room for the intermission in a position that had, in previous games, seemed to prompt a third period meltdown. But these Jets seem to have finally found a way to compete for a full 60 minutes, to paraphrase a bad hockey cliché, and beauty goals by Blake Wheeler and Chris Thorburn resulted in a 3-1 Winnipeg win that stopped the surging Sabres in their tracks and kept the Jets in the eighth playoff spot.
Greetings from the balmy Southeast Division - here in Winnipeg it’s currently -25 Celsius, but feels more like -36 when you factor in the wind. Um, at least it’s sunny I guess.
The Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators had very different records for 2012 going into last night’s game at Scotiabank Place - the former had won once (in overtime), while the latter had only lost once (also in overtime). Yet in last night’s 2-0 victory over the Sens, the Jets dominated in so many ways. Did the Sens figure playing the slumping Jets would be a cake walk? Were these Jets finally ready to play a full 60 minutes of hockey? Who knows - I guess the answer is probably a bit of both.
If hockey games were only two periods long, the Winnipeg Jets might very well be the toast of the league. But with no signs of any rules being amended to shorten games in the foreseeable future, the team will have to do something to learn to play hard for 60 minutes, to use a tired cliché. Up 1-0 heading into the third period, the Jets once again blew a lead in the final twenty minutes of the game, falling 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils at the MTS Centre yesterday afternoon.
What can you say about the Jets’ 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night other than the tale the stats tell? Well, I guess if you were an actual reporter, could talk to players, get the vibe of the arena, etc., really you could say quite a lot. Hm. Well, I digress. Both the first and third periods were scoreless, then the Sabres went up midway through the second period on a Tyler Myers power play goal as Blake Wheeler sat in the sin bin. Wheeler, however, exacted revenge, tying the game with five seconds left in the second period on a 5-on-3 power play. Johnny Oduya rifled the puck over Jhonas Enroth’s shoulder less than a minute into overtime, and there you have it - the Jets move past their terrible play in the initial two games of this road trip and pick up two points.
After two consecutive drubbings - a 7-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens followed by a 4-0 defeat to the Toronto Maple Leafs - the Winnipeg Jets head south of the border tonight to face the Buffalo Sabres, an equally middling team only three points behind the Jets in the standings. The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last ten, and are coming off a 4-2 loss last night to the Carolina Hurricanes. As Lloyd says in Dumb and Dumber: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”
There’ll be some changes to the Jets lineup - centre Bryan Little draws back in after missing eight games with bruised foor, while Alexander Burmistrov will miss tonight’s tilt with a “mid-level” injury, which perhaps explains his less-than-torrid play as of late.
The Winnipeg Jets return home from their longest road trip this year a little bruised, but with a respectable 8 of 14 points in the proverbial bag - as good or if not better than most pundits would have wagered.
If the last three games showed anything (and apologies for not updating after each of ‘em - work/family stuff got in the way), it’s that the Jets still don’t really seem to have an established identity. A near-comeback against the New Jersey Devils, then a goose egg against the New York Rangers, and then another overtime loss against the Buffalo Sabres in a game that was nearly as wild as the opening road game against the Philadelphia Flyers only showed (at least to me) that the Jets remain a mystery wrapped in an enigma throughout their first 15 games.