Another home game for the Jets and another win, a 2-1 final over the Boston Bruins.
Here are some numbers. It was the Bruins first regulation loss since Oct. 29, as they had a run of 14-0-1. It also snapped the Bruins road winning streak at six.
For the Jets it was their third straight win, they have now won six of their last seven at home, are 7-2-1 in their last 10, one game above .500 for the first time this season, and picked up their first win in seven tries against a Northeast Division opponent. They are 8-4 at home with nine more home games in December, starting with Carolina Friday. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290)
Andrew Ladd scored on a wicked wrist shot late in the first to open the scoring, marking nine times in the last 16 games the Jets have scored first. A Boston power play early in the second resulted in seven Bruin shots, but Ondrej Pavelec was terrific. The Bruins had 17 shots in the second, with the period ending 1-0 Jets. Sean Thornton tied the game early in the third, as the Bruins capitalized on a Jets turnover. Both teams were guilty of some giveaways, but Pavelec and Tuukka Rask kept the game close with many brilliant saves. Rask had his best save off Evander Kane in the third when it appeared the Jets hottest shooter would notch his 15th, but it was not to be. The tie didn't last long, as a minute and a half after Thornton tied it, and the teams playing four aside, Brian Little found the five-hole on Rask for the game winner.
The four-on-four came about after a borderline hit by David Krejci on Mark Stuart. Stuart was down for a while before heading to the dressing room briefly, and then returning to game. Zac Bogosian went after Krejci with each player being assessed a minor.
It was a tough game. A game where ice packs would be needed after. A number of players on both sides made some big blocks off some big shots, plus the game was physical. There was plenty of line matching, with both coaches trying to get certain defence pairings out against certain lines.
Jim Slater won nine of 11 third period face-offs, and won 15 of 22 overall. Some very controversial icing calls in the final few minutes resulted in faceoffs deep in the Jets zone. Coach Claude Noel did not dwell on it in his post game news conference but did wonder about the calls. You have to believe the NHL will take a look at those and have some discussion on it with the linesmen.
"I really enjoyed the game," Noel said. And why not? Well played, emotions were high, goaltending was great, two teams battling hard for two points.
The Bruins were without leading score Tyler Seguin as he missed a team meeting in the morning. Seguin also leads the NHL in plus-minus and is having a very good season. The Jets were again minus Nik Antropov, Eric Fehr, Ron Hainsey, Derek Meech, Randy Jones and Toby Enstrom. Brett Festerling was sent to St. John's, as was Ben Maxwell, who was claimed off waivers earlier in the day.
"He needs to find his game," Noel said of Maxwell. "He needs to play."
It is hoped Antropov, Hainsey and Jones will be available for Friday. Fehr's status for Friday is uncertain.
"There is lots of trust in our room right now, lots of confidence," Noel said. "We never got rattled when they scored to tie it. We did a lot of good things. Protected inside the dots and forced them to the outside. Good to get the first goal from Ladd who has a sneaky shot. Lots of emotion in the game, fans embraced the game. Like they wanted to be on the bench."
Noel could not say enough good things about the play of Pavelec. "Our goaltending has given us a chance to win every night."
The building erupted into a standing overation after Little scored the go-ahead goal. "I have never heard the building that loud," said Little. The goal was his eighth in 13 games, and gives him six goals and 10 points in his last eight games. Kane had his five-game point streak snapped, Wheeler his four-game point streak snapped, while Ladd ended a four-game pointless stretch. Kyle Wellwood, playing in his 400th NHL game, did not record a point for the sixth straight game.
It was a big win but Noel pointed out, it's back to work Wednesday. "We are not going to separate our shoulders patting ourselves on the back."
Fans are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy, or a cash donation to the game Friday to help with the Christmas Miracle program. Players' wives, girlfriends and volunteers will be at every entrance to collect. All those who donate will have a chance at winning an autographed Ladd jersey.
Chairman and Governor Mark Chipman returned from the Board of Governors meeting pleased with the realignment. The best change is all teams meeting in a home-and-home set, so fans have the chance to see all teams.
Zdeno Chara and Dustin Byfuglien both played over 25 minutes. Ladd had a season-high eight shots on goal, tying a career-high.
After Friday's game the Jets head to Detroit for a Saturday game, then back home for a six-game homestand that will take them to the two-day Christmas break.