Benny and the Jets
Entries with the tag: washington capitals
Finally, officially, it’s over. The Winnipeg Jets’ playoff chances were slimmer than slim going into last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but an overtime loss courtesy of Steven Stamkos’ 56th goal of the year dashed what little hope was left of making the postseason. Infamously weak in the second of back-to-back games and notably bad on the road, the Jets were lucky to keep things close against the Bolts in Tampa following the previous night’s win in Carolina.
A Jets win last night wouldn’t have been enough anyhow – Montreal needed to beat the Washington Capitals for the Jets’ meager chances of the playoffs alive, and they failed to do so in a shootout loss. With just three games left and only four points up on the Toronto Maple Leafs (14th in the Eastern Conference), it’s plausible that the Jets could lose all three games and pick in the top five at this year’s draft. Which, at this point, is what Jets fans should be hoping for.
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.
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.
The Philadelphia Flyers are in town tonight to take on the Winnipeg Jets, who look to make it four wins in a row and a chance to claim top spot in the Southeast Division if they can scare up two points. The Jets have beaten the Flyers on all three occasions they’ve met, the wild 9-8 win being the definite, uh, highlight of the bunch.
Sunday’s performance 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche was admirable – the team played the body well, managed a pair of power play goals and survived a treacherous second period thanks to the goaltending of Ondrej Pavelec. Blake Wheeler had four points en route to earning the league’s second star of the week honours, an honour aided in no small part to the efforts of Bryan Little.
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.
After 40-some minutes of hockey, I was feeling like I had seen this Washington Capitals/Winnipeg Jets game before. This game appeared to be headed in the same direction as so many as of late this year – lackluster offense from the Jets, with Ondrej Pavelec’s goaltending keeping the game close before an inevitable loss. When the Capitals scored two quick goals, it seemed my suspicions were being confirmed – the Jets were going down on the road without a fight.
Then, with a 6-on-3 situation (a two-man advantage plus goaltender Ondrej Pavelec on the bench for the sixth attacker) and less than three minutes left in the game, Evander Kane scrambled forward and put the puck past a sprawling Tomas Vokoun. Still, I thought, too little too late
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).
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.
Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild - a game the Jets won 2-1 - was a great example of how a low-scoring game can still be exciting to watch. Energized fans, a great transition game by both teams and some stellar goaltending made it hard to look away.
Last night’s 1-0 loss to the Washington Capitals falls on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to low-scoring games - the MTS Centre crowd wasn’t a factor and both teams seemed slightly listless all the way through. Confession - for a few minutes in the third period, I actually fell asleep while watching the game. I woke up when Alexander Ovechkin potted the game’s loan goal with less than two minutes to play - either that or I think maybe my snoring woke me up around that time. Regardless, I hit rewind on my PVR and got myself caught up on what I had missed while napping. It wasn’t much.
Despite being down a few forwards due to injury, the Winnipeg Jets looked impressive against the league-leading Minnesota Wild Tuesday night, squeaking out a 2-1 win in a real thriller. Zach Bogosian scored his first goal to tie the game before Bryan Little extended his goal streak to four games off a savvy pass by Dustin Byfuglien to net the winner.
Hot on the heels of an admirable 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals, the Jets head to Raleigh to take on the equally streaky Carolina Hurricanes in an important Southeast division game that, many months down the line, could determine who’s in or who’s out when it comes to the playoffs. Although really, the chances of either team being in the mix for post-season dates is pretty slim.
The voracious Winnipeg crowd didn’t get to razz Ilya Bryzgalov between the pipes, but their team managed a far more important feat, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4 to win their third straight in a game that was as complete as any they have played this season. Penalties continue to be a problem for the Jets - they took eight in the game, including three in the third period by Evander Kane. But the Flyers were undisciplined as well, taking eight of their own in the Saturday afternoon match. The Jets’ special teams were strong, netting three power play goals and a shorthanded beauty from Jim Slater, and allowed two goals against while killing their own penalties.
The humiliation of losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night proved to be somewhat of a wake-up call for the Winnipeg Jets, as they came out strong and rarely let up throughout last night’s 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Five different Jets (Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, St. John’s call-up Mark Flood and Tim Stapleton) managed to beat the Tampa netminder - Dwayne Roloson on the first four and Mathieu Garon for the fifth - in a game that saw a concerted, solid team effort.