January 17, 2012
No passengers in complete effort from Jets
By TED WYMAN, QMI Agency
There were no passengers on this 60-minute train ride and it was full steam ahead for the Winnipeg Jets.
Everyone on the ice made a solid contribution as the Jets shut down the red-hot Ottawa Senators and ended a three-game losing streak of their own Monday night with a 2-0 victory in the nationís capital.
Playing without scoring leader Blake Wheeler and their two top defencemen, the Jets got a goal from the checking line, another from the defence, solid goaltending from backup Chris Mason and a complete-game effort from all four lines in getting just their second victory of the new year.
Yeah, the Jets won by playing a boring style, but their commitment to discipline, to fearlessly blocking shots and taking the neutral zone away from the high-scoring Senators were exactly the ingredients needed to find success on the road against a good team.
The Jets skated hard, outshot the Senators and kept the pressure up in the offensive zone, which made it impossible for the likes of Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson to make a difference at the other end.
This is a game that once again makes the Jets look like they have what it takes to be a playoff team.
Theyíre going to have to do it again Tuesday in New Jersey to start proving it.
GREAT START FOR GST
The Jets got exactly the start they needed when pluggers Chris Thorburn and Jim Slater combined to make it 1-0. Thorburn, who was a healthy scratch Saturday against New Jersey, made a nice pass to a charging Slater, who tipped it past Craig Anderson. The Jets donít get anywhere near enough production from their bottom six forwards so anything they contribute is a huge bonus and that early goal set the tone in a big way ... The visitors followed up the game with a great first period, driving the net, dominating play and outshooting the Senators 13-3. The Jets had better jump in the first period than theyíve had in any game in the new year and they continued it throughout ... Getting goals from the blue-line and the third line took pressure off the top two lines to produce all the scoring. Itís a contribution that has been all too rare lately ... Talk about guts: Thorburn and Mark Stuart, two of the toughest hombres on the team, proved it by blocking shots with their backsides in key situations. At one point in the third, the Jets had as many blocked shots as the Senators had shots on goal, which shows how committed these guys are to winning.
CALL FROM SHANNY?
League disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will likely have a look at Evander Kaneís high hit on Sensí defenceman Erik Karlsson but itís doubtful any suspension will be forthcoming. Kane shook Karlsson up with the hit and got a great scoring chance shortly thereafter. That was the good part. The bad part was Kane had to tussle with Sens tough guy Chris Neil, who didnít like the high hit on Karlsson. Itís never good when a plugger is feeding knuckles to your leading goal scorer, but at least the Jets got a power play out of the deal ... Canít believe Kane didnít shoot on a partial break. It looked like Anderson was giving him the five hole, but Kane went around the net and failed to get a scoring chance.
The Jets missed a great chance to make it 2-0 early in the second when Mark Flood made one pass too many and missed Tanner Glass on a play that was otherwise beautifully executed by the grind line and a callup defenceman ... Outstanding passing play by the line of Nik Antropov, Andrew Ladd and Kyle Wellwood to set up Toby Enstrom for the Jetsí second goal. Wellwood showed great vision to find Enstrom coming in from the point and Ladd provided the screen in front. Ron Hainsey started the play in his own zone so it was a great example of all five players getting in on the goal ... Wellwood has been using his skill and vision very well the last couple of games, which is a great sign for the Jets. The forward was snoozing through the previous 10 games ... The GST line had an exceptional game, dominating Spezza and the Sensí big line througout. The best way to keep Spezza and Co. off the scoreboard is to keep them hemmed in their own zone. The GST line generated more offensive chances than the Spezza line.
NIK OF TIME?
Antropov had his best game in weeks. He made some great passes, worked hard down low and was generally effective.
Itís been a while since we said anything like that. Fans have been starting to grumble about Antropov but the big centre makes $4.062 million per year over the next two years, which makes him very difficult to deal, especially since he has a whopping five goals and 20 points this season. Antropov gets plenty of power play and top-6 minutes, so the fact that he rarely scores is all the more troublesome. A lot of fans would like to see the Jets ship the slow-skating forward out of town, but with that salary and those numbers, who is going to want him? ... The Jets will complete their season series with the New Jersey Devils Tuesday and adding to the importance of the game is the fact the winner will have the edge head to head. A win by the Jets would give them a 2-1-1 record (five points) against the Devils, while the Devils would be 2-2 (four points). One of the tie-breakers the NHL uses is points in games between the two tied teams. The Devils are five points ahead of the Jets right now, but if the Jets close the gap, it will be valuable to have a tie-breaker in their pockets ... We probably donít need to remind anyone the Jets are 0-6 when playing the second of back-to-back games this season. Tuesday would be a great time to slow that trend.