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Beyak: Jets used strategy, sacrifice to snap losing skid

Dennis Beyak
11/15/2011 4:04:38 AM
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So much was made of the Tampa 1-3-1 defence over the past few days after the Lightning's game in Philadelphia came to a standstill.

But in prepping for the Lightning, Jets Coach Claude Noel deserves plenty of credit. His only response was "it's a way of defending."

Then at Sunday's practice the team worked on how to beat that system. The team spent most of the practice on 'up the boards, chip it in, go get it.'

Monday night the system worked.

Noel and his players talked about energy, focus, playing a north and south game, and managing the neutral zone.

Evander Kane with his team-leading sixth of the year that opened the scoring and was key throughout the game.

Dustin Byfuglien would then score his fourth to make it 2-0 before the first period ended.

The key to the second period was special teams. The Jets did a great job penalty killing and scored a power play goal to lead 4-1 after two periods.

Some great shot blocks, some great saves from Ondrej Pavelec, and a power play goal by Mark Flood (his third goal since his call up) were all key to a 4-1 Jets lead, chasing Lightning starter Dwayne Roloson.

The Jets responded to situations.

Flood's power play goal came quickly after the Jets killed a four-minute penalty to Zach Bogosian. Then, Andrew Ladd's goal came 1:27 after the Lightning made it a 3-1 game.

To end the period the Jets were down two men for the ninth time this season, but again made sacrifices to win. Great saves kept the score 4-1, and the Jets were on their way to a 5-2 win.

"That was one of our most complete games." said Ladd. "Other than the penalties we controlled the game."

"We stuck to the game plan and never got away from our system," commented Byfuglien, who had a goal and an assist and a team leading 24:01 of ice time.

"Better team game from our goalie out," Noel agreed. "We played with will, managed the game, were hard to play against. I am very proud of our team."

Noel was particularly impressed with Byfuglien.

"He played with heart. He was outstanding, and when he plays like that it enables him to lead. He can be a tremendous player. Not just for us, but for the NHL."

It was also a strong night for the GST line of Tanner Glass, Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn. They were consistent and as Noel said "played an intelligent game."

The new line combinations seemed to click.

"Line juggling gave us some life." added Noel. "We have a good leadership group."

Byfuglien now has seven points in six games. Slater won 13 of 19 faceoffs, despite leaving the ice for a while in the second after blocking a shot, and sacrificed his body on penalty kills.

The win snapped a five-game winless skid for the Jets.

Up next, the skills competition, Tuesday. The festivities start at 5:30 with an open practice, with the skills competition to follow.

Coach Noel will be using a microphone during the practice.

Then it's Washington on Thursday.

Catch the game at 8:30pm et/ 7:30pm ct on TSN Jets and TSN Radio 1290.

The Bloggers: TSN Radio 1290 broadcasters Dennis Beyak and Brian Munz cover the Winnipeg Jets all season long. Manitoba-native Beyak is the play-by-play announcer for Jets regional games on TSN Jets and on TSN Radio 1290. Munz serves as a commentator for Jets broadcasts on TSN Radio 1290. Munz had previously been the voice of the Manitoba Moose.

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