Beyak: Jets finish road trip on a high note against Rangers
2/27/2013 9:32:30 AMWinnipeg Jets 4 New York Rangers 3 – With the win, the Jets finished the road trip at 4-1. Their road record is now 6-4-1 and their season record is even at 9-9-1. They share the Southeast Division lead with Carolina and Tampa, have scored first in six straight games and seven of the last nine, have seen their penalty kill get a lot better while still struggling on the power play. In the Rangers game, the penalty kill went 2-for-2 but the power play was held scoreless on three attempts.
Individually, Evander Kane had a three-point game (two goals and an assist) to extend his point streak to eight games, the longest active streak in the NHL, while matching his personal point streak best. He also extended his goal streak to a career-high four games and has six goals in the last six games. Kane led the Jets in shots on goal with seven and has taken over the team lead with 18 points, one better than Andrew Ladd. Olli Jokinen had his first two-goal game as a member of the Jets, Anthony Peluso picked up his first two NHL points and Ondrej Pavelec tied the franchise mark for games played by a goaltender at 204. With his next start, he will surpass Kari Lehtonen. Captain Ladd was held off the scoresheet against the Rangers but has scored six goals in the last eight games. Dustin Byfuglien had a +4 rating in the game while Zach Bogosian led in ice time at 24:58.
After a scoreless first period, the Jets came out strong in the second with Jokinen opened the scoring at 5:55. (Jets have opened the scoring ten times this season, the opening goal coming from ten different players.) Kane made it 2-0, Ryan Callahan made it 2-1, the three goals coming in a span of 3:33. Before the period was out, Jokinen made it 3-1, giving him four on the year. In the third, Tom Pyatt made it 3-2, only to have Kane score his ninth 20 seconds later to briefly restore the two-goal lead. The lead was brief because Anton Stralman again made it a one-goal game, those three goals coming in a 1:13 span. Some key saves from Pavelec in the final few minutes helped the Jets get the win.
For head coach Claude Noel and the coaching staff, there was lots to be happy about, but Thursday it's right back at it, at home against the New Jersey Devils (TSN Jets, TSN1290), who have not played since losing to the Jets in New Jersey last Sunday. For a reason no one really has an exact answer for, that first game home after a long road trip is always very difficult. Then it's a Saturday afternoon home game against Washington, then back on the road for four.
As for the trip, Noel felt "from the goalie out, our players played very well. A lot of good play from a lot of our guys." On the game, "nice to see Jokinen get back on the board, Kane scored a great goal off the rush, and Pavelec is in a real good groove. He really shut the door."
The Jets have learned to play with the lead, other than in Philadelphia where they ran themselves into penalty trouble and out of the game. "We are managing the puck a lot better," was the explanation from Noel. "Great team play, we got it deep and made them come 200 feet to try and score. The joy and confidence level in our room is quite high right now, and now we have to take that into our building."
On Peluso, Noel said "he's earned the right to stay in the lineup," and on Kane, "this is the best I've seen him play."