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Beyak: Jets continue playoff push on home ice

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Dennis Beyak
2/20/2012 1:46:29 AM
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The 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche Sunday night was a win that was all about statistics for the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets now have 64 points, which is the same as eighth place Toronto in the Eastern Conference, one less than Southeast Division leading Florida, but both the Leafs and Panthers have games in hand.

The win extended the Jets win streak to three, the first time they have hit that mark since the turn of the calendar. Their season high winning streak is four, and they'll try and match that Tuesday against Philadelphia (TSN Jets, TSN 1290).  Keep in mind puck drop is just after 6 pm.

 The team is now 2-0 in their eight game home stand.

Evander Kane opened the scoring on Sunday, the eighth time this year he has done so, and the Jets are now 7-1 in those games. 19 of his 22 goals have come in victories and Kane's five shots on goal lead the team.

Bryan Little scored 1:45 after Kane did.  That turned out to be the winner, and it was Little's team leading sixth game winner of the season.  It was also his second straight two-goal game and fourth of the season. Little now has seven goals in his last nine games. Earlier this season he had a stretch of nine goals in 11 games.

Blake Wheeler had a career high 4 point game, all assists. Wheeler had a goal and two assist Friday against Boston giving him seven points in two games, and 10 points in his last five games.

Andrew Ladd snapped a 13 game goalless drought with a power play marker in the third. Ladd also added an assist.

Yes, the power play connected twice in the game, after going four games without a goal.  In fact, heading into Sunday's game, the Jets had only one power play goal in their previous 12 games.

While they tallied some goals, the Jets continued to struggle the other way, giving up a shorthanded goal, which has now happened in five the last six games.
 
Kyle Wellwood had a goal and an assist giving him five points in his last five games including two goals. Wellwood's goal came 46 seconds after the Avs had cut the Jets lead to 2-1 on a goal by rookie Gabriel Landeskog, who finished the game with nine shots on goal.

Which brings us to Ondrej Pavelec, who was terrific on Sunday.  Colorado outshot Winnipeg 18-8 in the second period.   If you take away the messy game in Pittsburgh, Pavelec has now given up 13 goals in the last 8 games.

Dustin Byfuglien picked up two assists giving him nine points in the last six games. He was also a plus two in the game.

Eric Fehr was back in the lineup and played over 11 minutes on a line with Nik Antropov and Tim Stapleton. Coach Claude Noel was able to share the ice time, as Chris Thorburn was the only Jet under 10 minutes.  Thorburn missed some time in the first after getting cut by a high stick and missed time in the third after a scrap with Cody McLeod.

The game was feisty and physical. Thorburn went after Cody McLeod after McLeod went leg on leg with Jim Slater., and Kane picked up a double minor in the third going after Shane O'Brien.

As much as the head coach Claude Noel and the players were happy with the win, all agreed there were some sloppy moments.

"I was happy with the way we played in the first," Noel stated. "We gave up some power plays in the second and they had eight good scoring chances on them. (That is where Pavelec perhaps saved the day)

"Pav's been real good. Huge in the second. I don't get nervous watching him. There is a sense of calm. Wade Flaherty has helped him through the maturing process." 

Alexander Burmistrov had another good game and was key during Kane's double minor in the third period, where his great work resulted in a minor penalty to Kyle Quincey.

"[Burmistrov]  was good all game, so was his line. He was strong on the puck, took them off the power play. That could have been dangerous," continued Noel.

It looks like 90 points may be good enough to make playoffs, meaning Winnipeg needs 13 wins in their final 21 games.   That number of course will move depending on the performance of the teams that the Jets are chasing.

Jets celebrate (Photo: Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
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