April 5, 2012
JETS SNAPSHOTS: Finally, the end of the roadParenteau a good fit for Jets?
By Ken Wiebe, QMI AGENCY
One thing we know for sure is that the Winnipeg Jets are happy to put the road portion of their schedule behind them.
The road woes have been well-documented and you might argue that in a season where their poor play away from home prevented them from qualifying for the playoffs, it was fitting the Jets fell 5-4 to the New York Islanders on Thursday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in their final road game.
Not fitting because the Jets didn’t put in some effort because they worked hard to battle back after falling behind 2-0 in the first period, tying the game on three different occasions.
But fitting because just when you think they might be figuring it out, they found another way to lose.
Although the Jets have been better on the road of late (relatively speaking, taking five of eight points on this final swing), they had only one regulation road win away from MTS Centre since January 1 in 24 games and they finish with a record of 14-22-5 away from the friendly confines of home.
Spin it anyway you want, despite the improvements during the second half, the Jets simply weren’t good enough on the road this season.
Quick goals indicative
Goals from Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo that came 88 seconds apart before the game was nine minutes old gave you the idea this might be another long night for the Jets, but goalie Chris Mason stopped Matt Martin on a redirection and sure enough, the Jets started to rally shortly thereafter ... A nice back-check by Dustin Byfuglien helped the Jets get on the board as Isles’ star John Tavares dropped the puck to him in the slot when he assumed it was a teammate. Byfuglien got the play going the other way with a crisp pass to Jim Slater, who dropped the pass to Toby Enstrom and watched him bank a shot off the skate of Isles D-man Milan Jurcina ... Jets captain Andrew Ladd evened the score late in the first with his 28th goal of the season. With one game left, Ladd is one shy of the career high he put up with the Atlanta Thrashers last season ... Ladd is going to be the only Jets player to appear in all 82 games this season ... Very odd sequence of events involving Jets winger Blake Wheeler two minutes into the second period. Wheeler had the puck behind the Islanders net and caught D-man Steve Staios with his left elbow on the play. After falling down on the ice, Wheeler reached out and tripped Staios. When the play finally stopped, Wheeler was already sitting down on the Jets bench when the referee came over to inform him that he had been given not one but two minors on the play — one for elbowing (which was questionable) and one for tripping (which was obvious).
P-a banged up
Scary moment as Jets D-man Mark Stuart lays out to try and prevent P-A Parenteau from walking in all alone. As Parenteau fell to the ice, his left ankle twisted in a manner its not supposed to and he was writhing in pain before he was taken to the dressing room. Parenteau has been enjoying a breakout season (49 assists) and is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Parenteau worked his way to get to the NHL and should be in for a raise from the $1.25 million he made this season. Provided the injury isn’t too serious, Parenteau might be the kind of top-6 winger the Jets could be interested in this summer. However, if you’re Parenteau, the prospect of staying on a line with Tavares and Moulson has to be appealing ... Jets D-man Zach Bogosian scored his fifth of the season at 7:03 after Chris Thorburn went wide and sent an accidental pass to him in the slot. Bogosian had two points on the night to give him five goals and a career-high 30 points. The fourth-year blue-liner is also just minus-3 after a minus-27 last season. He’s really flourishing under the tutelage of assistant coach Charlie Huddy and is only going to get better
Penalty shot suspect
Back to the department of questionable calls, former Manitoba Moose speedster Michael Grabner was awarded a penalty shot at 11:35 of the third period after Byfuglien caught him with a one-handed slash (looked more like a love tap) to his arm on a partial breakaway. Make no mistake, this should have been a penalty for slashing, but a penalty shot seemed a little excessive. Didn’t matter to Grabner, who walked in calmly and beat Mason to the blocker side with a perfect shot. The goal was the 18th of the season for Grabner ... Byfuglien didn’t let the call bother him, as he overpowered Al Montoya with a slapper on the ensuing shift for his 12th goal of the season, tying the game once again ... Okposo had a glorious chance for his first NHL hat trick with just under two minutes left in regulation as his shot beat Mason but rattled off the iron...In the final minute, Evander Kane’s inability to clear the puck out of the defensive zone on the backhand prevented the Jets from gaining at least a point in a fourth consecutive game on the trip. After Andrew MacDonald kept the puck in, he moved the puck across to pride of St. Malo, Travis Hamonic and his shot was tipped home by Grabner, who has 19 goals in his sophomore season after recording an impressive 34 as a rookie ... Back to Hamonic, he’s improving steadily in his second NHL season and told me earlier this season he’s learned plenty from Staois, who played his 1,000th NHL game on Thursday and was honoured before the contest. We’re pretty sure those lessons are going to serve Hamonic well going forward. Hamonic is a born leader and don’t be surprised if he works his way into the Norris Trophy discussion in a few more years.