September 29, 2011
Jets overcome 'Canes
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets obviously don’t want to develop a complex, so they went out and did something about it.
The book on the new Jets is they’re going to have trouble scoring goals this season, and it sure looked that way through two and half periods on Wednesday night at MTS Centre.
The Carolina Hurricanes had a 1-0 lead thanks to the stellar play of Brian Boucher, but Evander Kane, on his eighth shot of the night, finally solved him on the power play and a minute later Blake Wheeler did it again, this time at even strength.
The result was an eventual 3-1 pre-season victory over the Hurricanes in front of another rowdy crowd at the downtown arena.
Head coach Claude Noel was no doubt looking more at bubble players and how they performed under pressure, but the guys who get paid the big bucks did what they do best.
Kane took a feed from Patrice Cormier on the power play and chipped the puck past Boucher, and 1:04 later Wheeler used a screening Andrew Ladd to wire a wrist shot over the goaltender’s left shoulder with 8:11 remaining in the third.
Kane added the empty-netter to put the exclamation point on Winnipeg’s second home-ice win in two pre-season games.
The Jets got caught on a bad line change 54 seconds into the second period, and Jiri Tlusty hit Tim Brent with a breakaway pass the former Toronto Maple Leafs converted into the game’s only goal so far.
Brent deked Jets netminder Chris Mason out of his pants and easily tucked the puck into the net.
Jets rookie forward Mark Scheifele had an opportunity to tie the game midway through the second, as he was all alone in front of the net, but the puck bounced over his stick.
Winnipeg had the best scoring chance of the first period. Defenceman Zach Bogosian let a shot go from the top of the right circle, the puck was chipped between Carolina goaltender Boucher’s legs, and Ben Maxwell had a wide open net after the puck bounced off the post.
Maxwell, however, got tangled up with a Hurricanes defenceman and was unable to get his stick on the puck, much to the chagrin of the 15,000-plus in attendance.
The Jets had more than twice as many shots as the Hurricanes, owning a 38-18 advantage.
THE THREE STARS
1. Jets LW Evander Kane — The 20-year-old was 0-for-7 in the shot department until he tied the game in the third and potted the empty-netter. He gets points for perseverance.
2. Hurricanes G Brian Boucher — Cam Ward’s backup made a couple of splendid saves and finished with 34 overall.
3. Jets RW Blake Wheeler — The Minnesota native was flying all over the ice, and his slick wrist shot proved to be the winner.
Forwards: There could have been more offence, but their persistence paid off at the end. B
Defence: They kept scoring chances to a minimum and moved the puck well. B+
Goaltending: The only problem with Chris Mason’s night was a beautiful breakaway goal by Tim Brent. Other than that, it was the solid start he was looking for. A
The Jets close out their pre-season schedule on Friday against the Nashville Predators. It will be their last game action for nine days, so expect to see much of the lineup that will hit the ice for the home-opener on Oct. 9 against the Montreal Canadiens.