The Winnipeg Jets (13-11-2) find themselves in a dead heat with the New York Rangers (13-10-2) in the Eastern Conference, both sitting at near identical records with 28 points on the season. The Jets’ toughest opponent in 2011-12 was the Rangers, who they met and lost to four times. The 2012-13 season series is already off to a better start as the Jets have won the only meeting between the clubs – a 4-3 decision at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 26. Evander Kane and Olli Jokinen each scored twice in that game. Entering the Jets-Rangers rematch on Thursday, Kane is on a two-game goal streak.
The PK streak
A significant point in Tuesday’s game versus Toronto (5-2 W) was a five-on-three penalty kill in the second period that lasted 1:55 and ended without a goal by the Maple Leafs. It was the second five-on-three in a week the Jets were able to kill off in full as they defended a 2:00 five-on-three in Tampa Bay on Mar. 7 (2-1 W). Both are a part of Winnipeg’s streak of 25 consecutive shorthanded situations without allowing a power play goal. The streak stretches over nine consecutive games, beginning on Feb. 24 in New Jersey (4-2 W). During the Jets current PK streak, their efficiency has improved from 67.8% (as of Feb. 23) to 77.8%.
Game opening goals
With Nik Antropov opening the scoring on Tuesday versus Toronto (5-2 W), he became the 13th different Jet to score the first goal in a game this season. Only Andrew Ladd has multiple game-opening goals for the Jets. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the only goal in a 1-0 win in Ottawa on Feb. 9 but has since been traded. No other NHL team has had as many different players score the first goal in a game. St. Louis is the next closest with 12 different players to open the scoring. The Jets have a record of 9-4-1 when they score first and are 4-7-1 when the opponent scores first.
Starting Lineup: Kane, Jokinen, Miettinen, Clitsome, Byfuglien and Pavelec between the pipes.FIRST PERIOD
1:58 JETS GOAL:
Michael Del Zotto took the games first penalty of the night for cross checking and the Jets made the Rangers pay for it. Dustin Byfuglien blasted a hard shot from the point that was stopped by Henrik Lundqvist. Nik Antropov was there in front to scoop up the loose puck and shovel a backhander into the net. 1-0 Jets.
2:45: Michael Haley and Mark Stuart dropped the gloves in the corner to send an early surge of energy through the MTS Centre early. In what looked like it would be a good tilt, instead, Stuart lost his balance quickly and was on his back, ending the fight.
| || are 9-4-1 when scoring first. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec says getting on the board early makes all the difference for his team @Ted_Wyman || || |
11:17: After an almost costly turnover off of a skate at the Jets blueline, the Jets were called for hooking on Gaborik, who was a step ahead of the play. This slight hook resulted in a penalty shot for Gaborik. He raced in alone on Pavelec made one two many moves and just about lost the puck He managed to get a weak shot on net but Pavelec shut the door.
Each team exchanged a few chances for their team but no more goals were scored in the period. Jets went to their dressing room holding onto a 1-0 lead on Antropov's third of the season. Shots through 20 minutes were 13-11 Jets. Hits also favoured the Jets 18-12. SECOND PERIOD
1:11: RANGERS GOAL:
Ryan Callahan tied the game early in the second period after he redirected a blast from Derek Stepan on the point. Callahan's quick hands gave him his ninth of the season. 1-1.
| ||Just witnessed what was easily most entertaining 4 on 4 in this building this season. @KellyMooreCJOB || || |
13:24: Pavelec flashes the glove robbing Brad Richards on the doorstep after Carl Hagelin sent him a perfect feed onto his stick.
14:52 JETS GOAL:
Antti Miettinen tallied his first of the season to give the Jets a 2-1 lead. Dustin Byfuglien wired a hard shot from the point that hit Miettinen in the crease and bounced it's way past Lundqvist. Grant Clitsome picked up the second helper on the play.
| ||Two nice defensive plays on 2 on 1's for both teams and both times the D man made the stop. Eminger and Clitsome. @IllegalCurve || || |
Through two periods, the Jets were on top 2-1, but the shots on net were even 22-22.
| ||The missing Jim Slater in faceoff circle. Rangers winning 59% of draws so far. In tight game, Jets need draws. @Ted_Wyman || || |
10:38: One of the Jets' best chances of the period came near the midway marker. Wheeler, Little and Ladd raced into the Rangers zone with speed. Little carried it across the line and sent a nice feed over to Ladd who fired a hard wrister that beat Lundqvist clean but rang off the crossbar and bounced out. The Rangers got to it and batted it away from their net.
16:42: Evander Kane had another glorious chance to put the Jets up by a pair, on a pretty much identical play that he scored on in Tuesday's match against the Leafs. Kane, a step ahead on a breakaway, tried to bury it behind Lundqvist but he made the big save and spit out the rebound. Jokinen, right with him, just missed the rebound by an inch and the puck stayed out.
As the Rangers put on the pressure with time winding down, the Jets did everything they needed to do to hold onto their crucial one goal lead.
19:21: JETS GOAL: Andrew Ladd added an empty net goal to seal the deal on the Rangers fate. Blake Wheeler sent him a safe cross-ice pass at the top of the circle for him to take a couple more strides and sink the puck into the empty net. 3-1 final.