The Winnipeg Jets (23-19-3) have found great success against the Buffalo Sabres (19-20-6) over the last two seasons winning their last five games and limiting the Sabres to one goal all five times. They’ve met twice this season with Winnipeg winning at home and on the road. While the Sabres are mathematically eliminated from the playoff chase, the Jets remain in pursuit of the New York Rangers, currently eighth in the conference, and the Washington Capitals who are leading the Southeast Division.
The Jets’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Islanders on Saturday was the first time in six games that Winnipeg did not earn two points. It ended a five-game win streak that was the club’s longest since relocating to the Manitoba capital. However, by picking up a point on Saturday, the Jets continued a six-game points streak (5-0-1). This ties their longest points streak from last season which occurred from Feb. 16/12 to Feb. 25/12 (4-0-2). The longest points streak in franchise history is nine games, set from Dec. 9/05 to Dec. 28/05 (6-0-3).
The Jets went beyond 60 minutes for a third straight game on Saturday when they lost to the Islanders in a shootout, 5-4. Winnipeg had won the two previous games. The Jets are now 6-3 this season in games which go past three periods of play, including 4-0 in games decided in overtime. The last time the Jets went to overtime in three straight games was Mar. 30/12 – Apr. 2/12 when Winnipeg also went 2-1 in that span.
Throughout their current six-game point streak (5-0-1), the Jets have used their second period efficiency to their advantage. The Jets outscored the Islanders 2-1 in the second period on Saturday (4-5 SOL). In the last six games the Jets have outscored their opponents 15-2 in the middle frame. On the year the Jets have outscored their opponents 52-34 in the second period. Entering NHL action on Sunday, 52 second period goals ranked second in the NHL behind Washington’s 54.
Dustin Byfuglien’s overtime marker on Thursday versus the Hurricanes (4-3 OTW) was the seventh time that the Jets have scored in a four-on-four situation this season. By comparison, the Jets have only surrendered one four-on-four goal. Only Chicago has scored as many goals during four-on-four. The Jets are tied with St. Louis for the best goal differential when playing four-on-four at +6.
Taking advantage lately
The Jets have scored on the power play in four straight games tying their longest streak of success on the man advantage this season. Winnipeg last scored on the power play in four straight games from Jan. 22 to Jan. 29. The Jets have a record of 13-3-1 on the season when scoring on the man advantage.
Starting lineup: Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler, Derek Meech, Dustin Byfuglien and Ondrej Pavelec in net.
11:18: Steve Ott took the game's first penalty for cross-checking putting the Jets on the power play. They were able to create a couple of chances down low but Jhonas Enroth looked to be on his game and shut the door to keep the game scoreless.
| || Early on but Kane looks to have returned to form. Skating looks a lot better than it did on Saturday. @IllegalCurve || || |
14:59: With five minutes to play, Evander Kane was tripped up on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. He took a shot on Enroth high glove-side but he just got a piece of it and the puck bounced behind him, off the crossbar and out. No goal.
Through 20 minutes of play, the Jets and Sabres were still looking for the first goal of the night. The shots favoured the Winnipeg Jets by a 14-4 margin. Dustin Byfuglien led the Jets with 7:36 of ice time in the first period.
Early in the second period...
7:32: JETS GOAL:
| || The #NHLJets Kyle Wellwood just blocked a shot point blank off the hand. In pain on the bench. @ShawnMcKenzie89 || || |
Aaron Gagnon put the Jets on the board first as he connected on a perfect tip in front of Enroth. Dustin Byfuglien started the play on the point moving the puck to Derek Meech on his left. Meech moved in, took a look and found Gagnon waiting in front to finish the play. 1-0 Jets.
11:57: SABRES GOAL:
| || That was a beautiful play by Derek Meech. Faked the pass and made a beautiful pass. Great job. #Jets #WinnipegBoy @ICEzzyG || || |
Thomas Vanek evened the score on the power play with Blake Wheeler in the box for hooking. Tyler Ennis blasted a shot toward the net and Vanek was in front to redirect the puck past Pavelec. 1-1.
With 25 seconds remaining in the middle frame, captain Andrew Ladd and Sabres assistant captain Steve Ott dropped the gloves along the boards in the Sabres zone. Both players landed a couple spirited punches but eventually dropped to the ice to end the fight. Ott received two minute roughing and a five minute fighting while Ladd was only given the five minute major.
The Jets had a flurry of chances late in the period but just weren't able to put one past Enroth and the teams went to the dressing room all tied 1-1. Through 40 minutes, the Jets held a strong 29-14 shot advantage.THIRD PERIOD
There were chances at both ends of the ice but neither goalie wanted to give in and give up a goal, especially not Ondrej Pavelec as he was forced to make a couple of key saves at key times. Through the first 10 minutes of play, the two teams were still knotted 1-1 and shots were 36-20 in favour of the Jets.
12:24: JETS GOAL:
| || This is a defining moment for the #Jets right now. They simply have to pull out two points here. @ICEzzyG || || |
Antti Miettinen puts the Jets back on top late in the third period as he sent a shot on net from the top of the circle that just trickled through the legs of Enroth. James Wright picked up the first assist with the nice set up. Stuart got the second helper.