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Beyak: Positives far outweigh the negatives in Jets win

Dennis Beyak
2/24/2012 2:09:21 AM
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Yes, the Winnipeg Jets saw a 4-0 second period lead turn into just a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay, but there is an old saying in sports: "Don't critique the wins." And there are far too many positives to focus on vs. what happened in the third.

The win, the Jets 30th of the season, vaulted them into top spot in the Southeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference. For the fourth straight game, they had a two-goal scorer (more on that later), and for the fifth straight game, they scored four goals. Winnipeg has picked up points in five straight games (4-0-1), and they scored on their first two power play chances (making it seven-for-seven going back to Sunday's win over Colorado.) The Jets scored first for the fourth straight game, and the top line continues to put up the points and lead the way.

Andrew Ladd and Tanner Glass, with his career-high fifth goal of the year, had the Jets in front 2-0 after one period. The Jets went on the power play early in the second and a goal that was initially awarded to Evander Kane (which would have given him a goal in three straight games) was changed post-game to Ladd, giving him two on the night and 21 on the year. After another Lightning penalty and 1:12 after Ladd's goal, Dustin Byfuglien scored his second power play goal in as many games making it 4-0, chasing starting goaltender Mathieu Garon from the game. Byfuglien is 4-9-13 in his last eight games; Ladd 4-13-17 in his last 12 games. Blake Wheeler extended his point streak to five games (1-10-11) while Ladd and Bryan Little extended theirs to four. Little is 4-3-7 over that stretch. Wheeler is 2-14-16 in his last 12.

Back to the power play: in the last five power play goals they scored, each goal was scored on the first shot of the man advantage.

Next up are the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at 1 PM (TSN 1290), game five of the eight game home stand. Winnipeg is now 19-9-3 at home.

Despite a number of players feeling some of the joy was taken away by a sloppy third period, Coach Claude Noel looked at the positives.

"We are first in the division, third in the conference and for 55 minutes played a pretty good game. There were some bumps in the third."

The bumps he is referring to were some undisciplined play as the Jets took three straight penalties that gave the Lightning some life. With six games in ten days, you wonder if mental fatigue did not play a part, but the players refused to use that as an excuse. Steven Stamkos scored his 43rd of the year, and that was followed by two goals in the final minute to make it a one-goal final.

Noel was happy with the way the team started the game, lead by the captain. "Ladd as of late has been really good. There is lots of pressure when you are the captain. He was good in a lot of areas. He's been a tremendous leader."

Noel chose to go with 11 forwards and six defencemen, so Mark Flood drew back in after sitting for 15, while Eric Fehr and Antti Miettinen were scratched. Zach Bogosian missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury.

"Confidence is a big part of the power play," continued Coach Noel. "but our net presence is way better, and we are getting shots to the net."

Next up are the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at 1 PM (TSN 1290), game five of the eight game home stand. Winnipeg is now 19-9-3 at home.

The Blues are now coached by Ken Hitchcock. He and Noel were together in Columbus, making is a bit of a special game for the coaches, although both will tell you it's just another game. 

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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