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Beyak: Jets drop hard-fought game to Avalanche

Dennis Beyak
3/11/2014 10:13:46 AM
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Colorado Avalanche 3 Winnipeg Jets 2 OT (Jets 30-28-7, Road 15-15-3) – It was the third time in four games this season the Jets and Avs needed extra time to decide a game. It was also the Jets fourth game in the last seven to go to overtime.

The Jets sit four points behind Dallas for the final playoff spot. The Stars have two games in hand with a home and home series remaining on the schedule.

It was the Jets 37th one-goal game of the season. The Jets have now gone four straight games without a win. The Jets now return home for three – Wednesday Vancouver (TSN, TSN 1290), New York Rangers Friday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) and Sunday against the Stars (TSN Jets, TSN 1290).

The story of the first period and the game for that matter, was the Jets penalty kill. The Jets were nailed with four minors in the first and killed them all. Al Montoya was solid in nets and the Jets penalty killers were aggressive, strong on pucks and used their speed to keep Colorado from getting set up. On the other side of the leger, Jim Slater on a breakaway drew a penalty shot only to be stopped by Semyon Varlamov. Shots in the first were 11-9 Colorado.

Colorado opened the scoring at the 4:38 mark of the second as a John Mitchell pass intended for Nathan MacKinnon went off the stick of Zach Bogosian and in. The goal was initially given to MacKinnon but later changed. It stayed that way until a flurry of goals late in the period. Dustin Byfuglien on the only power play the Jets would get in the game, tied the score at one. It was his 15th of the year and sixth power play goal of the year.  He was in front of the Avs net and put home a rebound. The Jets have scored 32 power play goals. Byfuglien has been in on 22 of them. Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little drew assists, both recording their 51st points of the year. One minute, 48 seconds later Byfuglien would bank one in off Varlamov, his 16th of the year, to give the Jets the lead. Michael Frolik and Little drew assists, and with his 52nd point of the year Little sets a new single season high for points. He also moves a point ahead of Wheeler for the team scoring lead. Byfuglien has now scored the team's last three goals and has back-to-back two point games. It appeared as though the Jets would take the one goal lead into the dressing room, but with 12 seconds left in the period Andre Benoit scored off a face-off win by Mitchell to tie the game. Shots in the second were 15-12 Jets.

No scoring in the third, but the Jets killed off two more penalties, ending the night six-for-six, allowing only a total of seven shots against while down a man. Going back to the game in Montreal, the Jets are now on a road run of killing 30 straight penalties.  Their road PK is number one in the NHL. Shots in the third were 10-9 Jets.

Just like in regulation both teams had chances in overtime before Matt Duchene ended it with his 21st of the year at 2:33. With the goal Duchene extends his point streak to a career high eight games. Shots for the game were 35-34 Jets.

The Jets created a lot of scoring chances using their speed to attack the Avalanche zone, but in the end the goal late in the second was costly. The Jets lost forward John Albert in the second with an upper body injury. Not dressed for the Jets were Paul Postma, Matt Halischuk, James Wright, Chris Thorburn, Grant Clitsome and Mark Sheifele, the last four because of injury. Bogosian led the Jets in ice time with 27 minutes, Little led the way in shots on goal with seven (a season high and ties a career single game high)  and won 15 of 23 face-offs. Jim Slater had a season high 14:54 in ice time and had five shots on goal. Mark Stuart and Evander Kane each had five hits, while Stuart led the way in penalty killing time at six minutes. It was Andrew Ladd's 598th NHL game.

For Coach Paul Maurice the special team totals were a bit of a concern, as the Avalanche were given six power plays to the Jets one.

“Our penalty kill was outstanding and our power play was 100 percent,” Maurice said. “Three power play goals in two games. As for the rest of it, it was a hard fought game. We had some back luck in front of the net. But not a lot of complaints. We didn't give up a whole lot.”

On the play of Byfuglien: “He was outstanding. He rested in the first because we couldn't get him on the ice because of all the penalties, after that he was our best player.”

As for interference on the goal late in the second: “That is what I was screaming about.”

 Maurice juggled his lines with Frolik back with Little and Ladd, Slater between Wheeler and Byfuglien.

“After the first couple of shifts Jim Slater was really strong, I liked that group,” he said.

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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