Game three of the Jets home schedule was a Southeast division battle against the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the Jets first inter division game. Over the years these two franchises have had some wild games (Atlanta vs Carolina) and last night kind of fit the bill.
The Hurricanes played in St. Louis Friday but despite the 2am arrival into Winnipeg got off to a great start. They crashed the net and got rewarded with a couple of goals. Goaltender Ondre Pavelec felt the whistle should have gone on the first goal, and watching the replay, he had a legitimate argument. A second goal 1:03 later (it was reviewed but was a good goal), forced Coach Claude Noel to make a goaltending change, as Chris Mason came into the game.
It was a game where both teams took too many penalties. The Jets power play clicked twice before the period ended to tie the game, including Alexander's goal that extended his point streak to four games (2-3-5) and Kyle Wellwood's third goal at 19:58. The wild action then continued into the second as the Jets scored 3 times in 3:01 to take a commanding 5-2 lead, goals coming from Jim Slater (3rd), Andrew Ladd (2nd), Evander Kane (1st).
The Jets had to rely on their penalty killing to preserve the win as they took five minors in the third giving the Hurricanes a couple of 5-on-3's.
At one point in the first the Hurricanes had outshot the Jets 5-2, but by the end of the first the Jets outshot the Hurricanes 13-6. Great job by Slater, Tanner Glass and Chris Thorburn to keep the Eric Stall, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Tuomo Ruutu line in check. Coach Noel also tried to get Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom out against that line as much as possible. Not only did they keep them in check but created scoring chances and got a goal from Slater. On our TSN 1290 broadcast analyst Shane Hnidy selected Mark Stuart as the Jets hardest working player and why not. He blocked 4 shots, with all parts of his body, left the ice sore, but came back. "He battles hard, and plays with his heart. Puts himself on the line every night," was the post game comment from the coach.
Slater left the game in the third after an end of the rink collision with Brandon Sutter. He is listed as day to day.
Mason also drew praise from the coach. "Not easy coming into that situation. But he is a battler, competes." As for Mason, in a TSN 1290 post game interview with Brian Munz, he too felt the whistle should have gone on the first goal. "The goals were not Pav's fault, but the goalie change was a wake up call for the guys. The PK worked it's butt off and won us the game."
Kyle Wellwood told Brian Munz on TSN 1290 that the team got some bounces. "Giving up two goals in the crease is something we can't allow. We also can't take that many penalties. Chris made a bunch of great saves." This from a player who has gone through multiple seasons in junior and the NHL without a penalty minute. It's true, check the stats.
Some other comments from Coach Noel. "The two goals got us going, we started to skate. Instinct told me to make a goaltending change. We'll see who we start Monday. (vs New York Rangers TSN Jets, TSN 1290). We got some guys on the board. I changed the lines early in the game because the combinations we started with had no cohesion, no speed, no flow." The best change seemed to be putting Kane with Nik Antropov and Burmistrov. "It got him skating."
After Monday's game the Jets leave on a seven-game, 13 day road trip.