Benny and the Jets
by BMS on 02/24/12 at 02:45 PM ET
It looked like Ondrej Pavelec was going to be tested often right from the outset of Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, as he sprawled to make a remarkable save on Martin St. Louis in the first minute. It brought flashbacks of Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers to mind – a game where Pavelec stopped 50 shots but was beaten in the final minute of overtime by Jaromir Jagr.
But the Jets turned things around quickly, with Andrew Ladd netting his 20th (and his fourth in three games) to give the Jets the early lead. (Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press has a great piece in today’s paper about Ladd here.) Tanner Glass got a gritty goal later in the period to put the Jets ahead 2-0.
From there the team just kept on rolling, taking a 4:0 lead on power play goals by Evander Kane (his 24th) and Dustin Byfuglien. All the players the Jets have needed to step up their offensive prowess – Kane, Byfuglien, Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler – seem to have answered the call. The Jets’ power play is ridiculously hot right now, with seven goals in the past eight attempts over three games, five of which only required one shot on net.
With the game seemingly all but won, the Jets took their foot off the gas a bit in the third period, resulted in Steven Stamkos potting his 43rd goal of the year. With under two minutes left in the third the Bolts called a time out and pulled Dwayne Roloson (who had replaced Mathieu Garon early in the second period). Teddy Purcell ripped one past Pavelec from the point before Tanner Glass was singled out for a cross-check in a post-whistle scrum.
Suddenly it’s 4-2 Jets with the Bolts on a 6-on-4 man advantage with 17 seconds left. It was inevitable – with 7.4 seconds left in the game Martin St. Louis ripped one past Pavelec to make it a 4-3 game. The Jets were able to secure the puck for the final few seconds to hold on, but that certainly isn’t the way you want to finish a game.
Yikes. The Jets have often been tabbed as being a team that has a tough time in the third period, and Thursday’s game certainly didn’t disprove that notion. It didn’t help that they took four consecutive penalties in the third. Team discipline seems to have turned a corner since earlier in the season, when the Jets were one of the most penalized teams (they’re now sorta middle of the pack). But last night’s third period showed that the team needs to stay focused on pushing a little harder for sixty minutes rather than playing aggressive for twenty or forty minutes and then defending the lead.
Of note – forwards Eric Fehr and Antti Miettinen were healthy scratches last night, and Mark Flood drew in on the blue line, meaning the Jets went with eleven forwards and seven defensemen. Today Miettinen was placed on waivers by the Jets; my understanding (which may be wrong) is that this was required should the Jets decide they wanna move him (because they nabbed him on re-entry waivers from Europe). He has a no-movement clause of some sort or other, according to CapGeek.
Will the Jets make any big moves leading up to the trade deadline? I can’t see any blockbusters going down. Defenseman Zach Bogosian should be back in the lineup soon, and the St. John’s IceCaps are tops in the AHL’s Eastern Conference, and there are a few guys that could use some time with the Jets. But with a tenuous grip on a playoff spot (and the Southeast Division lead after a Florida Panthers overtime loss) without games in hand, the Jets won’t want to tinker with the formula that, for the time being, is working pretty well.
Oh, and here’s a Q&A by Puck Daddy with Jim Slater, as well as a new installment of Take a Jet to Work:
Oh, have I mentioned lately that I’m on Twitter? @bensigurdson
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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.