Being winless in the second game of back to backs is no longer an issue Winnipeg Jets, following their win on Friday over the Boston Bruins.
On the 10th try of the season the Jets took care of that stat, and did it in fine fashion, beating the Bruins 4-2. The win came after a Thursday 4-3 shootout win in Minnesota. The season series between the Jets and Bruins was split at 2-2 with each team winning their home games.
The Jets saw the Bruins out shoot them 13-4 in the opening period, but strong goaltending by Ondrej Pavelec kept the game scoreless. The Jets got the offense going early in the second as Alexander Burmistrov opened the scoring with his 12th of the year and third goal in four games. Jordan Caron tied it and the Bruins followed that up with a power play. But a strong kill by the Jets lead to Blake Wheeler's 11th of the season giving the Jets the lead after 40 minutes. Dustin Byfuglien picked up an assist, giving him 2-5-7 in the last five games. Evander Kane also drew an assist, following up on his three point night against the Wild.
The Bruins are a very good third period team, as the Jets found out the last time in Boston when they had a one goal lead going into the third but had the Bruins storm back for a win. When David Krejci scored :49 seconds into the third, followed by a Bruins power play, a sold out Jets crowd was on edge. But another strong kill was followed by two Bryan Little goals 2:04 apart.
It was Little's third two goal game of the season, giving him five goals in eight games, plus a couple more in the shootout. Wheeler assisted and was instrumental in both goals, giving him his fourth three point night of the season. Wheeler is now 1-5-6 in his last four games. It was a big night for the former Bruin on the eve of his one year anniversary of his trade from Boston to Atlanta. "Wheeler played like he wasn't going to be denied." commented Coach Claude Noel post game.
Coach Noel also made mention of the strong performance from Pavelec. "To beat a team like Boston you need timely goals and timely saves. The glove save he made on the cross crease pass in the third was huge. Those saves change the game. Wheeler's goal after the penalty kill in the second was big, as were the Little goals after the penalty kill. We played with a lot of heart, and in back to back games," in reference to the streak. "We didn't get demoralized after the goal early in the third, and we built momentum off the penalty kill."
Noel has talked a great deal about "singular focus." Don't look at the big picture. Ignore the eight game home stand and focus on the task. That message was shown in the first goal by Burmistrov. "He did a good job changing speed, used the "D" as a screen and he does have a good shot. It was a big goal."
Coach Noel liked the Little/Ladd/Wheeler line, a night after the Burmistrov/Kane/Wellwood line was the best line. "With Little and Wheeler, there has been no need to split them up this season. And I liked Ladd's game tonight."
With the win the Jets move closer to eighth place in the conference as well as the top spot in the Southeast. Game two of the home stand is Sunday against Colorado. The game can be seen on TSN Jets, and heard on TSN 1290 at 7:30pm ct/8:30pm et, and then Tuesday against Philadelphia.
Jets were again minus Zach Bogosian, who may be ready for Sunday. Jets are now 8-7-1 in the last 16 with 11 of those games on the road.