October 27, 2011
Jets Snapshots: Crazy night in Jets history
By TED WYMAN, QMI Agency
On the craziest night in the history of the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise, TSN Jets play-by-play man Dennis Beyak had the most appropriate line: “Frustration is setting in on the part of the players. They know, no matter what happens, their coaches won’t be happy.”
No, Jets coach Claude Noel can’t be happy about his team blowing a huge lead.
Fans can’t be happy about having to visit their cardiologists this morning.
But Winnipeggers are going to have to admit that the Jets are far from boring.
The Jets made too many mistakes to count, but they showed a ton of character by coming back to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 9-8 after blowing a 6-2 lead and falling behind 7-6 in the third period.
Until Thursday night, the most goals scored in a game involving the Thrashers/Jets was 14, in an 8-6 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in 2006.
The teams combined for the most goals in an NHL game since 1996.
The Jets also tied the club record for the most goals in a game (the Thrashers also scored nine against Carolina in 2005).
They got their first road win and entertained thousands of Manitobans.
Even if it wasn’t pretty, isn’t that what they’re paid to do?
And you’d take that over a 1-0 game any day, right?
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For the first time Thursday, the Jets 2.0 truly reminded me of the Jets 1.0. Except in the ’80s it was Gretzky and the Oilers spotting the Jets a four-goal lead and winning 9-8 ... Firewagon hockey, no defence, no goaltending. In this day and age, that was one of the strangest games that’s been played in years ... Nicest Jets goal of the year came from Evander Kane on a second-period power play. Every Jets skater on the ice touched the puck, Alex Burmistrov got it down low to Antropov, who threw it through his legs to Kane. Kane took it off his skate, right to his stick and deposited his second of the year. Makes you wonder where that kind of creativity has been all year ... Dustin Byfuglien had a soft night, particularly on the Flyers seventh goal when he allowed Danny Briere to walk in front from behind the net and feed James van Riemsdyk. He was a statue in his own end all night, but somehow ended up +1 ... Where were the other camera angles on the goal Chris Thorburn looked to have scored early in the first period? Without a behind-the-net angle, there’s no way of knowing whether the puck went in the net. Can’t say it was a blown call but you have to hope the war room in Toronto got a better look at it than viewers did.
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Discipline is clearly a problem for this team.
Right after the Jets went up 5-1, Johnny Oduya took a slashing penalty. Captain Andrew Ladd made it a two-man advantage when he took an interference penalty while going for a potential breakaway opportunity.
The Flyers scored easily on the 5-on-3.
Right after the Jets went up 6-2, Kenndal McArdle took a penalty, which led to a goal by Briere and then Kane took a delay of game penalty, which led to a fluke goal by Max Talbot.
It’s exactly what the Jets have done all season. As soon as they get a decent lead, they start taking penalties and give their opponents a chance to get back in the game.
Noel knows it’s a problem and has been trying to address it, but this team gets jittery with the lead and can’t stay out of the box.
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For the first time in history, Winnipeggers love the GST. The GST Line struck again Thursday, as Jim Slater benefited from some hard work by Chris Thorburn and Tanner Glass to get his fourth of the year in the first period. Glass then made a beauty deflection of a shot by Tobias Enstrom to make it 4-1 in the second. If the top line was producing like the energy line, the Jets would be OK ... Blake Wheeler said the other day that if he just kept putting pucks at the net, they’d eventually go in. That theory definitely worked for him on his pinball shot for the Jets first goal Thursday. However, Wheeler still isn’t off the schneid, as the goal went off a skate in front and was credited to defenceman Randy Jones ... The knock against the Thrashers last year was that they tended to give up when the going got tough. Can’t say that about the Jets Thursday night ... Budding star Burmistrov now has a six-game point scoring streak.
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Noel has used Kyle Wellwood in almost every situation so far and on almost every line, mostly because the forward has been making everyone he plays with better. Wellwood started on the top line Saturday against Carolina, and on the fourth line Monday against New York. He was back on the top line with Ladd and Bryan Little Thursday night and scored his fourth of the season with a nifty deflection on the power play. “He’s very smart,” Noel said. “He’s an NHL player that can provide offence for us. I really trust his game. I find him really reliable. He’s a smart player and it seems like wherever we put him that line has done well so it’s a good attribute to have. He’s a lucky guy, a lucky charm.”
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Ondrej Pavelec struggled mightily again Thursday but somehow got the win after his replacement, Chris Mason, was injured. Pavelec still has a sense of humour though. When asked by a reporter this week what he’s sees as the difference when he looks back to last year at this time, he quipped: “I think last year at this time, I was in the hospital.” The goalie, of course, had a scary incident at the beginning of last season when he fainted during a game and had to spend some time in the hospital before getting the all clear. Good to see Pavelec can joke about it now, but truthfully his season has been nothing to laugh about so far. “I’m disappointed in my play.” You are not alone there, Ondrej ... The only Jets skaters not to get points Thursday were Zach Bogosian, Johnny Oduya and McArdle.