The Winnipeg Jets put up a great defensive effort in a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at MTS Centre Tuesday night.
The Jets looked doomed early on when the crowd let out arguably the loudest cheer for an opposing goal when Phil Kessel found space in the slot and wristed a shot across the grain for his 30th of the season. That was Kessel's third goal in as many games and the fourth time in a row where he has scored thirty or more goals in a season.
The Jets entered the game having only scored six goals in their past six games and the team is only 7-17-4 when they allow their opponents to get on the scoreboard first.
The Toronto faithful were silenced just over three minutes later when Chris Thorburn burst up the left wing like a forty goal scorer catching the inside of the far post with a back hand shot for his 2nd of the season at 14:16 to tie the game at 1-1.
“Sniper, I couldn't remember who Thorburn was, I call him Sniper now” commented Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel during the post game press conference. “It was a good goal, nice to see him score again, he has endured enough during the first fifty games.”
That was the first time in eight games that the Jets have scored during the first period of play.
Blake Wheeler's size and speed generated the second Jet's goal when he took the puck off the left wing straight to the net setting up Bryan Little for his 13th goal of the season to make it 2-1 at 9:47 of the second period.
The Jets shut the door in the third only allowing five shots on net. They out shot the Leafs 29-18 on the game.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was very pleased with his team's defensive play “great team effort, all four lines played really well with responsibility. We know we won't score a lot of goals, we need to be patient and wait.”
Evandar Kane made an appearance getting 13.44 minutes of ice time after missing seven games due to a head injury. “I would say I wasn't at top speed, I felt ready to go at the start of the game. The coaching staff felt they wanted to limit some things for me hopefully next game I will be more involved.”
The Winnipeg Jets trail the southeast division leading Washington Capitals by four points and the eighth seeded eastern conference Ottawa Senators by five points. Winnipeg is back on the road this Thursday when they travel into Washington for a division match-up against the Capitals.
(Courtesy of Kevin Geisheimer)
(Photo courtesy of Ray Peters)