Beyak: Jets give travelling fans something to cheer about

Dennis Beyak

2/17/2012 3:10:29 AM

Following Tuesday's home loss to the New York Islanders the Winnipeg Jets needed something out of Thursday's game in Minnesota.

And before thousands of Jets fans who made the road trip, the team earned a 4-3 shootout win.

Friday the Jets start an eight-game home stand, as they meet the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins (TSN, TSN 1290). Please note that puck drop is just after 7pm local. Sunday against Colorado is a regular 7:30 start, while Tuesday against Philadelphia is a 6pm start.

Back to the game against the Wild. It was a see-saw battle to the end.

Devon Setoguchi opened the scoring for Minnesota. Evander Kane, with his 20th, tied it late in the first period on a nice setup by Blake Wheeler.

In the second, Kane notched his sixth multiple goal game of the season, only to have Setoguchi tie it with a powerplay marker.

Setoguchi's first period goal at the 7:50 mark was the Wild's first shot on goal, his goal at 12:15 of the second was the Wild's first shot on goal in the second, as the Jets outshot the Wild 11-3 in the second. In fact, the goal was the Wilds's first shot in over 15 minutes.

In the Winnipeg shot department, Kane ended with seven shots on goal to lead the team, two shy of his season-high nine against Boston in November.

Mikko Koivu gave the Wild their second lead of the game early in the third, but two minutes later Alexander Burmistrov pulled the Jets even with his 11th.

Kane had a three point night, tying a career high, and Dustin Byfuglien had two assists for six points in his last four games.

In net, Chris Mason was not very busy through two periods, but was terrific in the third when the Wild outshot the Jets 14-6. He made a number of great saves to send the game to overtime, and eventually to a shootout, where he stopped three of four for the 18th shootout win of his career.

At the other end, Blake Wheeler and Kane scored in the shootout to win it for the Jets. What turned out to be the winner by Kane was his first shootout goal in five attempts.

The Jets were without Zach Bogosian because of injury and will probably be without him against Boston as well.

It was a special night in Minnesota for three Jets from the State, Mark Stuart along with Wheeler and Byfuglien. All three had plenty of family and friends in the building cheering them along.

All the Jets players post game talked about the Winnipeg fans that made the trip. Before the team even came out for warm up, the players could hear the "Go Jets Go" chants in the stands.

Coach Claude Noel feels that Jets-Wild is a great rivalry after two emotional games this season between the two teams that are 720 kilometres apart.

As for the game itself, "We controlled the first two periods, we were good," said Noel. "They hemmed us in at the start of the third, but Chris Mason was there when we needed him.

"This was a good test of our character."

The Jets power play went 0-for-3 but there was some urgency to it. Byfyuglien again lead the team in ice time with over 27 minutes.

Another note on Kane's two goals - he now has 21 on the year with 18 of those coming in Jets wins.