The Winnipeg Jets (17-14-2) are holding down the Southeast Division lead with 15 regular season games left in 2012-13. The team they will meet most frequently from here on in will be the Carolina Hurricanes (15-13-2), who currently sit second in the division and four points back of Winnipeg. Tuesday’s meeting in Carolina is the first of three remaining games between the clubs, with the final two being played in Winnipeg. In the lone matchup this season on Feb. 21, the Jets emerged with a 4-3 win at PNC Arena on the strength of two Blake Wheeler goals. That Winnipeg win kick-started a stretch of 11-6-1 for the Jets, while the Hurricanes in that same span have a record of 7-8-1.
On the road again
Something about being on the road has worked for the Winnipeg Jets this season as they have gone 9-6-2 away from MTS Centre and are currently tied for the fifth-most wins in the League away from home. The Jets play five of their next six games on the road. Andrew Ladd leads the team in points on the road with 16 (6G, 10A) in 17 games. Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane have each scored seven goals in 17 road games.
Locking down a lead
Bryan Little’s opening goal staked the Jets out to a 1-0 lead after the first period on Sunday versus Tampa Bay (3-2 W). This was the eighth time this season that the Jets have led after the first period, and for the eighth time, the Jets won the game. Winnipeg is the only remaining team in the NHL to be undefeated when leading after the first period (8-0-0).
Winnipeg holds down third place in the Eastern Conference by way of leading the Southeast Division with 36 points. Prior to games scheduled on Mar. 25, the Jets lead division opponents Carolina (32 points), Washington (31 points), Tampa Bay (27 points) and Florida (24 points). The Jets have a record of 6-6-0 against Southeast Division rivals this season. Winnipeg had the best interdivision record in the Southeast last season, going 14-6-4.
The all-important first goal
The Jets scored the first goal of the game for the 16th time this season when they went ahead versus the Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2 W) on Sunday. The Jets have a record of 11-4-1 when scoring the first goal of the game this season. There have been 13 different Jets players to score a game opening goal this season, with Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Nik Antropov the only players to score two game-opening goals.
Starting Lineup: Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom and Ondrej Pavelec in net.
Jets Scratches: Paul Postma, Mark Stuart, Arturs Kulda.
4:05: Olli Jokinen took the game's first penalty of the night four minutes into the opening period. The Canes managed a couple of excellent chances on the power play down low but Pavelec was on his game early and made a few big saves.
| || Jets have been all over the Hurricanes and Pavelec starts off sensationally. @IllegalCurve || || |
6:06: CANES GOAL: Jiri Tlusty put one past Pavelec one second after the power play expired as he took a nice feed in the slot from Riley Nash. 1-0 Canes.
13:44: JETS GOAL: Olli Jokinen beats Justin Peters through the five-hole on a two-on-one opportunity with Evander Kane. Kane's pass was just a little long so Jokinen kicked the puck to his stick and snapped it away to tie the game 1-1.
The first period comes to an end in Carolina with the score tied 1-1. The Jets held the edge in shots, 14-13. Zach Bogosian led the team with 9:32 of ice-time, behind him was Evander Kane with 8:20.
11:31: JETS GOAL: With Jordan Staal in the box for hooking on Andrew Ladd, the Jets power play went to work for the second time of the night...and they made the Canes pay this time. Dustin Byfuglien sent a nice pass to Enstrom who blasted a hard slap shot from the top of the circle that flew past Peter's glove and into the net top-shelf. 2-1 Jets.
| || Jets continue having their best goal differential in the 2nd period. Despite being outworked for the first 10 minutes, they have the lead. @IllegalCurve || || |
16:35: JETS GOAL: The play started with Antropov carrying the puck across the blueline into the Canes zone. He fed Kane at the top of the circle, who put a wrist shot on net. Peter's made the initial save but the puck spit out to Burmistrov in front. The puck bounced off his body and off of Peter's stick and redirected into the back of the net. The goal was under review to see if Burmistrov's glove batted it in but it was ruled a good goal. Jets led 3-1.
| || #NHLJets lead 3-1 after 2 and the big line of Ladd, Little, Wheeler has yet to register a point. Secondary scoring @WFPEdTait || || |
Evander Kane has registered three assists through two periods, with five shots on net and three hits in 14:58 of ice-time.
8:17: Jets took a too-many-men penalty in the second half of the final frame, served by Eric Tangradi. The Jets PK went back to work on what would be a huge kill of the evening. Pavelec continued his stellar play through the kill pulling out big saves at key moments. Grant Clitsome stepped up on a great chance for the Canes, dropping his body and kicking a shot away from Pavelec....kill successful.
| || Clitsome with a huge save for his goaltender. Jets kill another penalty. @IllegalCurve || || |
12:37: JETS GOAL: The goal started with Canes' Jamie McBain turning over the puck at the blueline. Evander Kane raced the puck up ice but couldn't get a shot on net. Instead the puck bounced over to McBain trying to clear and accidentally backhanded the puck past Peters and into his own net. Jets lead 4-1.