- At MTS Centre tonight, the 15,004 on hand may have seen their Jets compete hard all game, but they also got a display of grit from the opposing men in the spoked-B.
There were scrambles and odd-man rushes that required extra effort. There were blocked shots and flashy saves. Daniel Paille's speed showed, Tyler Seguin's compete level was high. Brad Marchand converted on the power play and the penalty kill kept its swagger, going perfect yet again.
There was battling. And it went until the buzzer finally sounded on the B's 3-2 win that prevented a three-game losing streak, in a building where they had never pulled out a W.
"We needed to," said Tuukka Rask said, on bouncing back from Boston's 4-2 loss in Buffalo Friday night.
Rask made 22 saves to earn the victory, and had to make the stops until the dying seconds of the game.
"We talked about losing those last two games, we wanted to get the win today," added Rask. Simple as that. "We did the job to get the win."
With the Bruins holding a 3-2 lead, Winnipeg battled until the end, all the way until the puck skirted right through the blue paint, skimming the goal line, with bodies flying in front, Johnny Boychuk diving to keep it out and Rask desperately searching for the piece of rubber that had gone out of his sight.
"You know what, I saw him throw the puck to the net, the guy getting his stick on it, then it hit my mask. Then I just heard the buzzer go off, that’s about it," said Rask, who was his normal cool and calm self on the inside, as the scramble ensued. "I saw it going across and then Johnny just dove."
"It was a bit of a yard sale there. Didn’t go in. That’s all that matters."
And that wasn't the only heart-stopping scare at the end - Winnipeg Captain Andrew Ladd nearly tipped a shot in between Rask's stretched out right pad and the post.
A couple of breakdowns may have led to the Jets' two goals, but the B's netminder had confidence in his defense in front.
"We had a lot of blocked shots. Broke down a couple times on those goal situations, but I thought we battled great," said Rask. "The third period was a bit of a panic button, but it was still a pretty good job."
When the B's were able to get the puck past Ondrej Pavelec earlier in the contest, it was their grit and net-front awareness that set up the tie game for Brad Marchand's game-winner on the man-advantage.
After another scoreless opening frame and Winnipeg getting on the board first, it was Tyler Seguin streaking through the faceoff circles and tipping in a wrister from Zdeno Chara with Marchand camped in front. Not the usual highlight reel goal for Seguin, but a hard-fought goal that still earned him the G.
"Yeah, it feels good every single time," Seguin said, on getting his third goal - second non-empty-netter of the season. "Even though it’s a tip which is usually not my game - besides the three tips tonight. I’ll take it."
Seguin wanted to come out with fervor tonight, and it certainly showed, not only in the O-zone but in all areas of the ice.
"One message I seemed to get was to just keep battling, take the good to another level, the compete level, and that’s what I tried to do tonight," he said.
And it wasn't even his goal that stood out the most. In the second half of first period, it was Seguin who raced from end to end as a Jets odd-man rush was developing and dove on the backcheck to break up a pass from Andrew Ladd over to Zach Bogosian, halting the 3-on-2.
"Those plays are what the boys praise the most, said Seguin. " You get more pats on the back for those types of efforts, whether it’s me or anybody else on the team."
"It’s kind of more than scoring or making a good play. The big thing on our team is defense, which we did well tonight."
One defensive lapse with 28 seconds left in the second caused the Jets to gain a 2-1 edge, but before the PA announcer could finish reading off the assists, Daniel Paille had made it a tie game at the opposite end, redirecting a long Boychuk shot from inside the blueline near the B's bench with just 1.5 on the clock.
Paille, the B's usual energy line forward, had been playing up on the third line, after Rich Peverley took the winger spot on the top line alongside David Krejci and Nathan Horton (Milan Lucic had to fly back to Boston from Winnipeg on Saturday due to personal reasons and was not in the lineup against the Jets). His speed certainly showed all night - and he was able to come up huge for the Black & Gold with the redirect.
"It was big," Coach Julien said of the momentum shift.
"This isn’t an easy building to play in to start with, so it was disappointing when they took that 2-1 lead, but to score that goal gave us some more life. We came in here and knowing you have a tie game and it comes down to the last 20 minutes."
Only 36 seconds into the third - and technically, 38 seconds after Paille's goal, Marchand made it 3-2 with a quick backhanded strike on the power play, set up by Patrice Bergeron.
"I think we’re pretty confident with our power play right now. We seem to be building a little bit more every game," said the scorer, who now has a team-leading eight goals.
While there were moments of lapses for the B's, the battling was there from start to finish.
"I think we didn’t play exactly how we wanted to play the whole game, but I thought we stepped up at the right times," said Seguin.
"Obviously, with a guy like Tuukks in our net, we just have to play good D-zone in front of him. We knew he was going to make the big saves and worked out in the end."