An interesting game in Buffalo Tuesday brought the Jets longest road trip of the season to an end.
The Jets jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Mark Flood's second in four games, and Bryan Little's first of the year. Flood jumped into the play, took a great pass from Tanner Glass and beat Ryan Miller. Just over a minute later, Little buried a Blake Wheeler pass and the boo birds were out, giving it to Miller. Miller's list of accomplishments from college to the AHL to the NHL and the Olympics is very impressive, and even after a good start to the season, a couple of rough outings has the fans unhappy.
With the 2-0 lead, the penalty trouble started, and when all was said and done, the power plays were 12-5 in favour of Buffalo. On three occasions, the Sabres had five-on-threes and went 4-for-12 on the power play with 16 shots, and had the Jets shaking their heads at the end of the night. Were they all good calls? No, but the Sabres have too much firepower to put yourself in that kind of penalty trouble.
"We had to keep the game five-on-five," said coach Claude Noel, choosing not to comment on the officiating. "We've been better in that area. There were two points there for us tonight and we shot ourselves in the foot."
Goals 11 seconds apart tied it, only to have Tanner Glass regain the lead for the Jets. Glass had the Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a scrap. After five goals in 6:37, it looked like the trip would end as it began in Philly, with a high-scoring affair.
And back and forth they went, the Jets never trailing. Little scored in the second, and Byfuglien in the third to round out the Jets scoring, but from the end of the second period when an Evander Kane penalty took the Jets off the power play to the end of the game, the Jets took six minor penalties with the Sabres ending it with a power play goal in overtime. Byfuglien picked up a 10-minute misconduct when the game was over, telling the officials what he thought of their performance.
As for the road trip, collecting eight of 14 points is fine, especially when you take into account the injuries. No Ron Hainsey and Derek Meech to start the trip, then you lose Toby Enstrom, followed by Mark Stuart and Randy Jones. They lost Nik Antropov for a couple of games as well. Job well done by Ice Cap call-ups Mark Flood, Brett Festerling and Paul Postma.
In goal, it was the Ondre Pavelec show as he played all but 8:27 of the whole trip. Chris Mason expects to be ready very soon. He was hurt in the Philly game to start the trip. Pavelec saw plenty of pucks and his save percentage after the Philly game was well over .900.
The team did some good things on the trip, finding ways to get points being one of them but there is work to do with penalty killing being one of them. Not taking that many penalties is a good place to start.
Bryan Little had seven shots on goal in Buffalo, Derek Roy had two for the Sabres. Paul Gaustad showed why he is the league's best faceoff man, winning 15-of-20 and Jason Pominville won 12-of-14. Miller had lost his previous four, but has never lost five in a row.
The lines (five-on-five) created lots of chances. Noel put Ladd, Little and Wheeler back togetgher, Kane and Burmistrov welcomed Antropov back, and for the first time this season other than when Slater was hurt, the GST line (Glass, Slater and Thorburn) has stayed together, but Kyle Wellwood replaced Thorburn on Tuesday.
Next up for the Jets is home to Florida Thursday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290), before heading out to Columbus for a game on Saturday.