It would have been easy for the Winnipeg Jets to look past their game with the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night and look ahead to Friday's conference game against the Washington Capitals (TSN Jets, TSN 1290). But the "singular focus" theory that Coach Claude Noel has been talking about the past month paid off.
The Jets had not played since Friday's loss in Calgary. Since then, they have enjoyed some time away from the rink and got in some good practice time, but had to watch teams pass them in the standings.
The only positive was that it evened out the games played category.
So Wednesday it was back to work with a 5-2 win over the Stars, who came into the game on a 10-0-1 run, winning their last six overall and their last six on the road.
What the Jets had going for them was their mark of 8-0-1 at the MTS Centre against the teams that played the night before. The Stars played in Minnesota Tuesday and were 1-9-2 in the second game of back to backs entering Wednesday's game. With that said though, they were 11-1-1 against the Thrashers/Jets franchise, and 9-0-1 vs Canadian teams this season.
Nik Antropov opened the scoring, which is the first time this season he has scored the game's opening goal, and the Jets went from there.
The second period is where the Jets blew the game open with four goals. Evander Kane notched his 28th early in the frame. He's now 9-8-17 in his last 12. Eric Fehr playing on a line with Jim Slater and Tanner Glass (Chris Thorburn was out with a lower body injury) scored his second of the season to make it a 3-0 game. Fehr blocked a shot at his own line, raced down the right side and drilled a slap shot past Richard Bachman short side, a goal that brought the MTS crowd to its feet. "It's been a rough few weeks." said Fehr. "But I have a chance now to contribute."
Forty-seven seconds later Andrew Ladd scored thanks to some great work by Blake Wheeler, then Ladd would add another on a power play to make it 5-0. On the power play marker Ladd had a Dustin Byfuglien shot deflect off him and in. The assist for Byfuglien was his 34th of the year, a single season career high.
Wheeler ended the night with two assists, but did have his four game goal streak snapped. He now is 7-13-20 in his last 12 games. Loui Eriksson scored late in the second and late in the third to make it a 5-2 final.
Jets are now four points back of eight place Washington and five points back of division leading Florida. Jets and Caps will play two more times, Jets and Panthers once.
Coach Noel was quick in his post-game news conference to mention the four point game on Friday. "It's a huge game."
On the Dallas game: "Enjoyed watching the Slater/Glass/Fehr line - Eric was good. Antro's line was good at practice the last couple of days and had a good game. We got good production from a lot of guys. Scored more than I thought we would."
Tanner Glass felt Fehr fit in real well. "Slater is the general on the line. He tells us where to go on the ice."
Jets were also minus Zach Bogosian again. It's hoped he will be ready for Friday, although the six defencemen in the game on Wednesday played very well.