With Friday's win the Winnipeg Jets improve to 2-0 on the season, winning both games after giving up the first goal of the game.
The home opener for the Jets featured a physical start with the Jets outhitting the Kings by a 10-4 count before the first commercial break. But the shots on goal tally very much favoured the Kings, outshooting the Jets 18-7 in the first period, a period that ended in a 1-1 tie thanks to a number of big saves by Ondrej Pavelec.
Matt Greene's point shot went off Dustin Byfuglien and in, but less than two minutes later Evander Kane's shot was blocked by Greene, with the puck coming right back to Kane and a quick wrist shot beat Jonathan Quick to tie the game 1-1. Kane had three shots on goal and four hits in the opening period.
In the second period the Kings kept putting pucks to the net and at one time were outshooting the Jets 25-9 before the Jets got going and went on an 11-1 run in shots, taking the lead on Olli Jokenin's 300th NHL goal.
Prior to that goal the Jets had one called back, on this ruling from the NHL – Video review determined that Blake Wheeler's shot entered the net after it had come off its moorings. According to rule 78.5: “apparent goals shall be disallowed by the referee when the net becomes displaced accidently.” After watching replays Jets fans on the TSN 1290 post game show called in feeling Quick had deliberately dislodged the net.
The Jets chased Quick in the third on back to back goals by Devin Setoguchi. The first one was a deflection of a Kane shot (the goal was initially credited to Kane), the second was on a wrap-around on a play started by Kane's speed.
The 4-1 lead had the sold out crowd at MTS Centre in a party mood but the Kings almost spoiled the party as back to back power play goals 4:44 apart made it a one goal game with over four minutes left. The comeback ended with an empty net goal by Bryan Little making it a 5-3 final.
It was the Jets first victory in three home openers. For Setoguchi it was his 19th career multi-point game (he has two hat-tricks, a regular season one against Colorado and a one in the playoffs against Detroit), and his 10th career three-point game. For Kane it was his seventh career three point game, while his first period fight with Colin Fraser was his eighth career scrap. He ended the game with a team high seven shots on goal.
“With a heavy team like them you have to let them know early you won't be run out of your own building,” commented Kane post-game. Jokinen also had an assist, giving him 399 career assists and 699 career points. Jokinen was a Los Angeles draft pick in 1997, third overall behind Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
Byfuglien lead in ice time with 23:52 and his game drew praise from head coach Claude Noel. “He was physical, got his shots through, made good first passes.”
As for the game, Noel had this to say: “We have a way of making games exciting. We got ourselves in penalty trouble, lost face-offs (Jets won only 37% in this game), got kicked out on face-offs, were not in shooting lanes. But we have to stay out of the box.”
Jets gave up two power play goals for the second straight game, while scoring one power play goal for the second straight game.
The first period shots on goal had the coach concerned. “We had a slow start, got better in the second and third. We passed up too many shots in the first, turned pucks over. That changed in the second. Frolik forced a turnover on Jokinen's goal and it got us going. We are learning the necessary things to get us into the playoffs, and managing the puck is one of them. We did a lot of good things in the game, got a lot of good things from a lot of people.”
Next up for the Jets is a home game Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks (TSN Jets, TSN 1290). The game will mark Teemu Selanne's final NHL game in the city he started his career, with a 76-goal rookie season in 92-93.