December 3, 2011
Kane brilliant as Jets down Devils
By Ted Wyman, QMI Agency
Evander Kane strives to be a dominant power forward and one of the top players in the NHL.
Hey, you may as well set the bar high.
Saturday night the Winnipeg Jets 20-year-old left-winger showed he’s not far off from reaching his goals, when he’s on top of his game.
Kane scored two goals, had a hand in the game-winner and was an absolute force in the offensive zone, particularly in a strong third period by the Jets, in a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Kane’s offensive production was impressive, but what really wowed the crowd of 15,004 was his ability to attack the net with speed and make power move after power move to create chances.
“I still feel I can be a lot better,” Kane said after the Jets improved their record to 11-11-4, reaching the .500 mark for just the second time this season.
“I want to be one of the best players in the league, a dominant player in this league, and this is just the start of that.”
Kane has been a catalyst for most of the season and now has 14 goals in 25 games. He scored the first goal of the game for the sixth time this season and sealed the game with an empty netter.
There were times when Kane looked like he can blow past any defenceman in the league, and make it appear easy.
“A lot of that goes to my skating … I think that’s what makes me successful,” Kane said. “When I’m doing that real well, things happen for me.”
The Devils, who lost in Minnesota Friday night and were playing back-to-back road games, played a strong, physical road game, outworking the Jets at times, particularly in the second period, and getting a 2-1 lead after a goal by Patrik Elias on a two-man advantage.
But the game turned shortly thereafter, when Jets forward Alex Burmistrov scored shorthanded to tie it at 2-2.
“That was huge for us,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. “The momentum was really shifting for them but we got a little bit of life out of that.”
After that key moment, the Jets started to match the Devils physically and in the final period they showed the kind of finish Noel has been seeking, for the second time in as many games.
“We played a really good third period, we played with energy and guys buckled down,” Noel said. “To me it looked like there was a size difference with the teams and our guys played to their size in the third.”
While Andrew Ladd is the captain of this team and goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who had 23 saves including some big ones in the third, is often the most important player, it was Kane leading by example that made the Jets the stronger team in the third period.
On one play, Kane grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, barged between the defencemen and got a scoring chance before crashing into the goal post and banging his knee. After spending a few nervous moments on the ice, he skated off and was back doing more of the same on the next shift.
The Jets seemed to feed off that energy, got the winning goal when Stuart threw it on net from a bad angle and Kane crashed the crease, and limited the Devils chances the rest of the way.
The Jets played a big, fast, powerful game in the third period.
Just like their emerging star.
Winnipeg Jets (11-11-4) 4
New Jersey Devils (12-12-1) 2
THE THREE STARS
1. Jets LW Evander Kane – Huge power game and scored two goals
2. Devils C Zach Parise – Slick passing, dangerous all night
3. Jets C Bryan Little – Two assists, generated lots of offence
The Jets get outplayed and outworked for parts of the first two periods but withstand the Devils physical play and turn it up in the third, riding a dominant performance from Evander Kane to victory. Alex Burmistrov’s shorthanded goal late in the second period was the turning point.
OFFENCE: B+ … Crashed the net and cashed in on their chances.
DEFENCE: B … Under pressure but kept Devils on the perimeter. Mark Stuart gets credit for winning goal.
GOALTENDING: B … First goal suspect but Pavelec was great the rest of the way
Jets host the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins Tuesday night at 7:30 at MTS Centre.