In sports deserving to win doesn't mean a thing, but the Jets deserved the 2-1 shootout win in Philadelphia. Yes they had to weather the Flyer storm in the third when they were outshot 13-4, but let's remember Carolina when they outshot the Hurricanes 14-2 in the third but lost by a goal. Deserved the win because it was a very questionable call against Chris Thorburn that got the Flyers the 1-0 first period lead. Thorburn's first goal of the season early in the second tied the game and there was no more scoring until the shootout. Thorburn took an Antropov pass and beat Ilya Bryzgalov high glove. Antropov has seven points in his last six games.
The game was close checking, physical and both goalies made a number of great saves. Andrew Ladd had a chance to win it late in the third, Brian Little had a chance in overtime and put it off the inside of the goal post. But that is the way it has been offensively for the Jets as of late. So to win you need to be good defensively and get great goaltending, which the Jets did from Ondre Pavelec, who made key third period saves off Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux. With it being the first game back after the all star break both teams we're cautious and the first shot on goal did not come until midway through the first period.
Tanner Glass and Jim Slater lead the hit parade with six hits each, Slater won 11 of 19 face-offs, Blake Wheeler had 5 shots on goal to lad that category with Zach Bogosian right behind him with four, giving him 22 in the last four games. As for ice time, Toby Enstrom was 26:12, Bogosian 26:07. Little lead the forwards with 24:03.
The line of Little, Wheeler and Ladd was great. They finished last season as a unit, and started this season as a unit, spending the first nine games together. They were reunited in the Ranger game prior to the break. "We talked as a line after Monday's practice about leading the way," said Wheeler in a TSN Jets post game interview. It was a very determined Wheeler at the morning skate and he carried it into the game. "It's time to get this headed in the right direction."
As for the shootout Pavelec was perfect in the first three shots he faced, Bryzgalov was perfect in stopping Kyle Wellwood and Wheeler, leaving the heroics for Little. "I saw on the Wellwood save that he opened the five hole, so that was my plan going in," added Little in his TSN Jets post game interview.
Jets are 3-0 against the Flyers this season, but this game certainly more defensive than the 9-8 and 6-4 wins. As a franchise the Jets have now won six straight against the Flyers including four straight in Philly. Jets gained a point in the battle for top spot in the South East and also the eighth and final playoff spot.
Evander Kane has returned to Winnipeg, Tim Stapleton is home as well, while Dustin Byfuglien and Alexander Burmistrov may be ready for the Thursday game in Tampa. Spencer Machachek and Aaron Gagnon up from the Ice Caps both played.
"The game was well played by both teams," commented head coach Claude Noel. "We played a solid road game, good to see Thorburn score, the Little line was very good and Pavelec was there when we needed him. They wore us down a bit in the third when they put Jagr with Hartnell and Giroux, but we found a way to win." Since sitting out a game seven games ago, Thorburn has been very good. "He puts a lot of pressure on himself and sometimes it's good to watch a game," added Coach Noel. "It was a great shot that he scored on."
Despite only one goal the Jets created a number of chances. "Happy with the chances we had. Every line created,"continued the Coach. "It would have been demoralizing to not win this game. The line matching was difficult but our guys managed it well."
Jets now prepare for their ninth back to back of the season, in Tampa Thursday and in Florida Friday. Both games on TSN Jets and TSN 1290. Jets are in a stretch of six of seven on the road, needing to stay in the hunt with nine of 10 at home after that.