December 6, 2011
Jets beat defending champion Bruins
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - It could go down as one of those galvanizing moments.
The Winnipeg Jets were tied in the third period with the defending Stanley Cup champions, a team that had previously gone 14-0-1 to rocket up the standings after a slow start.
Laying face down and flat on the ice was Jets alternate captain Mark Stuart, who had been run into the boards from behind by Bruins centre David Krejci.
Krejci was given a minor for boarding and after Stuart’s defence partner Zach Bogosian went at Krejci to exact some revenge, the Jets power play was nullified.
Not a problem.
The Jets stood up for one another, Stuart came back to finish the game and five seconds later, with the two teams playing 4-on-4, Bryan Little won the draw in the neutral zone against Rich Peverley, sped forward with the puck and whistled a shot past Tuukka Rask.
“After that second goal there, it was the loudest I’ve heard the building — my ears were ringing, I couldn’t hear anything,” said Little.
That goal from Little would stand up as the game-winner, an exclamation point if you will, as the Jets found a way to hand the mighty Bruins their first regulation loss since Oct. 29 against the Montreal Canadiens.
“It’s big. There are key moments in the game when you need to grab momentum and that was the best time to do that,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd, who staked the Jets to a 1-0 lead at 18:21 of the first period. “It’s probably our biggest win this year — it’s the Stanley Cup champions and earlier in the year we were finding it hard to jump over the hurdle of winning those close games and to do it against the hottest team in the league is a big step for us.
“It just gives us confidence, especially in tight games, to know we can finish it off. We played tight and we didn’t give them too much. It’s something we can build on, for sure.”
There are going to be those that say the Jets simply beat a backup goalie, but Rask isn’t exactly chopped liver. In fact, he’s been a starter in the NHL and could start for some teams.
Others will say the Bruins were without top scorer Tyler Seguin, the second-year phenom who has 13 goals and 25 points in 25 games but was a late scratch after missing a team breakfast and meeting.
But you can’t exactly penalize the Jets for the fact Bruins head coach Claude Julien instils discipline.
And the fact the Bruins played the Penguins in Pittsburgh the night before wasn’t the Jets problem either. They didn’t make the schedule and they’ve been involved in several back-to-back situations of their own this season.
The Jets took a 1-0 lead into the third period and then were forced to respond after the Bruins got the equalizer from Shawn Thornton, who redirected a pass from Daniel Paille after a turnover in the defensive zone by Jason Jaffray.
Instead of folding the tent and being overwhelmed by the Bruins, the Jets showed some strong push back and the fans showed their appreciation with a rousing standing ovation following Little’s goal.
“It looked like he was shot out of a cannon after that face-off. He just grabbed that puck and took off and it was a great play by (Little),” said Jets winger Tanner Glass. “That might be the loudest rink I’ve ever played in, (including) the Stanley Cup finals and everything last year. It’s a small building and when it gets rocking, it gets extremely loud.”
Take a bow fans and imagine how loud it might actually get if the Jets find a way to make the playoffs