Winnipeg Jets 2 Phoenix Coyotes 1 Shootout (Jets 34-33-10, Road 17-18-4) – The game concluded a five game road trip for the Jets, and the win was huge considering how the game in Anaheim the night before ended, as the Jets had the 4-0 lead, only to have it slip away and end in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Ducks.
The Jets finish the trip 2-2-1 and stay alive in the playoff race. A loss in regulation to the Coyotes would have mathematically eliminated the Jets. They are eight points back with five games to go.
A strong contingent of Jets fans at the game, perhaps as many as 5,000. For the Jets, it seemed like a home game.
Devin Setoguchi was back in the lineup after missing the last three games (coaches decision), with Anthony Peluso coming out.
Andrew Ladd with his 23rd opened the scoring, with Brian Little drew the only assist to extend his point streak to seven (2-6-8), tying his career high. Little has points in 11 of his last 13 games and is 3-10-13 in the last 13 games played. The goal for Ladd was the seventh time this season he has scored the first goal of the game. In the last nine games where the Jets scored first, Ladd has been the scorer four times. Shots in the first were eight apiece.
Phoenix tied the game early in the second, with Zbynek Michalek getting his second of the year, 19 seconds into the period. Coyotes outshot the Jets 14-6 forcing Ondrej Pavelec to make a number of big saves to keep the game tied.
No scoring in the third as the game really tightened up. Shots favoured Phoenix 7-6.
Late in overtime, Blake Wheeler went off for high sticking, but the Jets killed it off, sending the game to a shootout. In overtime the Jets outshot Phoenix 2-1, but on the game the Coyotes outshot the Jets 30-22.
The only goal of the shootout came off the stick of Ladd, who is now 7-13 in shootouts this season. His shot went off the post, off the leg of Thomas Greiss and in. It was Ladd's seventh career shootout winner.
For the Jets, eight of their last 18 games have gone to overtime; they have won three. It was their 44th one-goal game of the year. They are now 2-6-1 in the second game of back-to-backs. Toby Enstrom at 24:15 led the Jets in ice time, Jacob Trouba was 24:10. Matt Halischuk and Blake Wheeler each had four shots on goal. Eric Tangradi had six hits to lead the Jets in that category.
Wheeler, who had his three game goal scoring streak snapped, credited Paul Maurice for getting the team refocused after the tough loss in Anaheim.
“He told us it was a statement game,” Wheeler said. “ We had to bounce back.”
For Maurice the game was a solid test for his team.
“I couldn't be happier for the guys,” Maurice said. “It was one eventful road trip. Going 2-2-1 with the group we have missing, says a lot for our room. To rebound and find a way. Our goaltender was the difference a number of times; the big penalty kill in overtime.”
As for team's pre-game preparation: “We had a list of things in the adversity column. We went through it and what it would mean to win this game with all that was against you.”
The Jets return home to play Pittsburgh Thursday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290), before heading to Toronto for a game on Saturday (TSN 1290).