Benny and the Jets
Entries with the tag: toronto maple leafs
Afternoon games always seem like a bit of a drag – the crowd’s never really fully engaged, teams often look sluggish, and the results aren’t often reflective of a team’s true potential.
While the MTS Centre crowd was relatively disengaged for parts of Saturday’s Winnipeg Jets game against the St. Louis Blues, it was still noisy when it needed to be noisy. Neither team came out looking overly sluggish either – and the 3-2 overtime loss to the Blues didn’t come completely out of left field.
Finally back in their own barn, the Winnipeg Jets broke the Toronto Maple Leafs’ five-game winning streak with a hard-fought 2-1 win in a game that had many a momentum shift. At times the Leafs rolled into the Jets’ zone with ease, blowing past pinching/flat-footed defenders, while at other times the Jets handled Toronto’s finest with ease.
Phil Kessel started the scoring off by grabbing a nicely banked pass from Joffray Lupul, skating across the Jets’ defensive zone and blasting a wrister past Ondrej Pavelec for his 30th goal of the year. I don’t get a chance to watch Kessel all that much, but man did he look good out there.
Call it Stupor Bowl Sunday, Super Bore Sunday or whatever else you want, Sunday’s Winnipeg Jets-Montreal Canadiens afternoon game at the Bell Centre saw one team play sloppy hockey and the visitors play even worse. Coming off a 3-0 loss yesterday afternoon – also at the Bell Centre – the Montreal Canadiens turned around and shout out the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. The Habs scored once on the power play, once shorthanded and once at even strength.
The Jets came out and played a hard opening half of the first period, but quickly had their energy slip away as the game wore on. A late first-period goal by Max Pacioretty sent the Jets back to the dressing room down a goal, and they weren’t ever able to right the ship, so to speak.
The Winnipeg Jets leave Florida with two of a possible four points – not the ideal situation, especially considering the two points they picked up were in a 2-1 overtime win against Southeast Division rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rather than significantly close the gap on the Florida Panthers (to whom they lost 2-1 in regulation on Friday night) and Washington Capitals – both in their division and both ahead of the Jets – Winnipeg only managed to cobble together enough to keep things close in the race for the final couple of playoff spots.
It’s tough to gain any momentum when your team can’t put the puck in the net, something the Jets have been struggling with as of late. Snipe Evander Kane continues to sit out with a concussion, although he had been ice cold in his last ten or so games in action. The team only has six goals in the last five games, a number that won’t win you many games (although, miraculously, the team won two of those five).
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.
Every year my parents have a little dinner party type thing at their place on New Year’s Eve. It’s usually my brother and I, and a handful of their good friends - we stand around, have some drinks, then sit down to a massive dinner. This year was no exception, although there was one notable difference between this year and previous incarnations - instead of the Canada/USA world junior match-up on TV in the background, it was the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets that provided the on-ice action for us hockey nuts to scrutinize.
Despite being a low scoring game, the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings put together an exciting 61ish minutes of hockey, led for the most part by solid goaltending at both ends by the Jets’ Chris Mason and the Kings’ Jonathan Bernier. In the end, a scrappy goal from down low by Evander Kane just over a minute into the overtime period proved to be the difference, as the Jets picked up both possible points in a 1-0 win over the Kings in the two teams’ lone meeting of the year.
The Kings were playing their third game in four nights, so the longer the game went the better chance the Jets had of beating the Kings. Add in home ice advantage (a huge factor for the Jets – just look at their impressive home record and dismal road numbers) and the chances were good that the Jets would come out on top.
Ontario’s official slogan is “Yours to Discover.” So what did the Winnipeg Jets discover in their back-to-back games against Ontario’s two teams?
While the standing ovation in Toronto was a nice enough touch and the teams’ start looked promising, there wasn’t enough consistency in the team’s effort throughout the game, which resulted in them blowing a 3-1 lead going into the third period. The Leafs were able to score two power play goals in the third, then take the Jets in the shootout. As for last night’s “effort” against the lowly Ottawa Senators, I’d say that was one of the most tedious, unenjoyable hockey games I’ve seen in some time (although Anne Murray apparently enjoyed herself).
No, the Jets aren’t playing, but the anticipation surrounding tonight’s NHL regular season kickoff couldn’t be more intense in Winnipeg. With the NHL deciding to host the 2011 Molson Canadian NHL Face-off festival at The Forks - located in the heart of downtown Winnipeg - the eyes of the hockey-loving world will turn in our direction for the first of two times this weekend.