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Beyak: Jets' penalty kill a potent and valuable weapon

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Dennis Beyak
3/1/2014 11:20:54 PM
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Winnipeg Jets 3 Nashville Predators 1 (Jets 30-26-6, Road 15-15 2) – Jets are now 11-3-1 and 6-2-1 on the road under Paul Maurice. The win gives the Jets 66 points, same as Dallas and Vancouver. All three teams tied for the final playoff spot in the west. Phoenix is one point back, Nashville now four back of the Jets.

Ondrej Pavelec and the penalty kill were the stories of this game. Pavelec stopping 39 of 40 shots making great save after great save, as the Jets were outshot 40-20. The PK went six for six and is on a 24 for 24 run over the past five road games, and continues to lead the NHL in road percentage.

Three first-period power plays had the Predators outshooting the Jets 14-8, but the period was scoreless. Jets did not record their first shot on goal until the 9:41 mark of the period.

Jets were outshot 15-8 in the second but left the ice with a 2-0 lead. Olli Jokinen came off the bench on a line change, got in behind the Nashville defence and beat Carter Hutton high glove for his 14th of the year. It was the first time this season Jokinen has scored the first goal of a game. Jacob Trouba and Evander Kane drew assists. Late in the period Micheal Frolik found Zach Bogosian open and his shot was tipped in by Andrew Ladd to give the Jets a 2-0 lead. It was Ladd's 15th of the year.

Nashville kept pressing in the third and at 9:11 Simon Moser scored his first NHL goal on a deflection to make it a one-goal game.  Predators could not get a second by Pavelec and at 16:08 Devin Setoguchi restored the two-goal lead with his 11th of the year. Mark Stuart, who had another very strong game, started the play with Blake Wheeler driving wide and taking it to the Nashville goal, and after his was stopped by Hutton, Setoguchi tapped home the rebound. Shots in the third were 11-4 Nashville.

Coach Maurice has talked about some line juggling and mid game moved Kane onto the Jokinen line with Dustin Byfuglien, with Setoguchi going to the Mark Sheifele line with Wheeler. Jets also lost James Wright with a lower body injury in the second.

Jets now play six of seven and eight of ten at home, before finishing with 7 of 10 on the road. Three home games this week, Islanders Tuesday (TSN Jets, TSN 1290), Los Angeles Thursday and Ottawa Saturday afternoon.

"We were fine at the start of the game," stated Coach Maurice in his post-game media session. "They build a lot of momentum off their first power play. I didn't like our second period." As for taking six minors and 14 in the last two road games, "We'll take a look at the ones we have to avoid taking. Our penalty kill has been very good." On his goaltender, "Pavelec made some great saves and we were good at cleaning up. But he was our best player."

Pavelec is now 4-0 this season in games where he faces 40 or more shots. In total the Predators directed 75 shots at the Jets net, with the Jets blocking 20, and another 15 missing the net. Trouba again led the Jets in ice time at 25:06, Bryan Little was again their best face-off man at 63 per cent, winning 12 of 19. Stuart had five blocked shots.

Mark Stuart (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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