Saturday, April 6, 2013

Winnipeg Jets Take Flight Against Flyers Ending 5 Game Grounding

Article written by The Comish - Winnipeg Correspondent
The Winnipeg Jets ended a tumultuous week that saw them lose their grip on first place in the South East Division on Thursday night only to grab it back after a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, if only for the moment as Washington plays Tampa tonight. The Jets did not look good in the first period as they were outplayed and out shot 12 to 4. They did have some chances in the first period but continued to either miss the net or squeeze their sticks too tight.

The flood gates opened in the second period as the Jets scored 4 unanswered goals. Bryan Little and Evander Kane both ended scoring droughts and the Jets played a solid third period holding the Flyers off the score board in front of an audience that was looking for something to finally cheer about.

The Week started with a road trip to New York to face the Rangers. The Jets grabbed a 2-1 lead despite being outplayed but saw the momentum and lead evaporate after they failed to capitalize on a 5-3 power play. The Rangers scored a shorthanded goal as the 5-3 expired resulting in the wheels coming off. In a desperation move Dustin Byfuglien who has struggled mightily over the last 10 games was moved to forward. It did not work and the Jets losing streak went to 3 games.

The next night the Jets took their road show to Long Island facing an Islander team that has greatly improved and is making strides towards the playoffs. Entering the game, you would have thought that the Hockey gods were on Jets side as they were facing a team that had just played the night before, were starting their backup goalie and at least one player in his first NHL game.

It would be a first game player, Mr. Lee who would score his first NHL goal and the Jets lost 5-2. They were outplayed in every aspect of the game leading many to question the heart and desire of the club heading into trade deadline day.

D-day would come and go with the Jets not making any trades but they did sign Jacob Trouba on Tuesday night and picked up Mike Santorelli off waivers, which was their only move that day. The explanation from the Jets G.M. for not doing more on trade deadline day was that the players on the team had earned the right to finish the season. There were rumors that he did entertain offers for Alex Burmistrov but could not make a deal.

The Jets then played Montreal getting off to a good start as they scored the first goal of the game but that would be their last goal of the night. The Jets were not inspired by the GM’s vote of confidence on d-day’ as they were downed 4-1 facing the Hab’s backup goalie and were once out played, out worked and out hustled. Dustin Byfuglien was even benched during the third period. The loss extended their losing streak to 5 games and also saw Washington take over top spot in the South East Division.

The Jets headed back to Winnipeg in disarray with Coach Noel looking for answers. They got some great news on Friday as Zac Redmond, their d-man that almost died during a freak accident returned to the club to practice. His recovery is being hailed as a miracle as doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of ever playing again. The Jets didn’t expect him back on the ice until at least next year.

The Jets have 40 points after this win. The magic number for points required to capture a playoff spot being discussed by NHL analysts is 52. 5. Therefore, the margin for error is slim and the Jets must play near perfect hockey during their remaining 8 games.

The Jets will get a 4 day break after playing next week against Buffalo and Florida. They can breathe a sigh of relief as they ended their losing streak but what remains to be seen is if this is the start of a strong finish or if they will return to their inconsistent ways, which is the reason they are stuck on the playoff runway waiting for clearance to take off. 

Stay tuned it should be an interesting flight and one that  will no doubt be fraught with turbulence.

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