Ondrej Pavelec made 39 saves and Bryan Little scored the game winner to help lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 2-1 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins at MTS Centre.
The Bruins came into Tuesday night's game the hottest team in the National Hockey League having taken points out of their last 15 games including a ten-game winning streak from November 1st-23rd. Boston hadn't lost in regulation since October 29th. The Jets entered Tuesday's contest on a roll of their own having won five of their last six games at home.
The Jets are accustomed to quick starts and they got on the board first on Tuesday night. Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd scored his ninth goal of the season with a sneaky wrist shot from the left face-off dot with 1:39 remaining in the first period.
Winnipeg entered the game having scored 30 of their 74 goals in the first period. That's the second highest total in the NHL behind only Philadelphia's 33.
Rookie Carl Klingberg took a holding penalty early in the second period which sparked the Bruins. Boston took over out-shooting the Jets 10-2 in the first half of the period. Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stole the show stopping multiple chances on the penalty kill.
Head Coach Claude Noel commented about his goaltender's play after the game, "He's played pretty solid. Through a stretch of time like this it's pretty hard not to look at the goaltending we've got, it gives us a chance to win. We feel that if we get one or two we have a chance to win."
The GST line (Tanner Glass, Jim Slater, Chris Thorburn) started to turn the momentum around midway through the second period. At one point the crowd started to chant G-S-T, G-S-T!
A Jason Jaffray turnover at the beginning of the third period turned out to be costly as Shawn Thornton scored his second of the season off a lucky bounce from a bad angle shot that tipped off the cross bar and in.
There was a scare shortly after Thornton's goal when Winnipeg defenceman Mark Stuart crumpled to the ice laying motionless after a hit from behind from Bruins forward David Krejci.
The Jets quickly rebounded, six seconds later when Bryan Little made a crafty move, stealing the puck from Rich Peverley off the face off in his own zone and then taking it all the way to score his eighth of the season. Little has two goals and four assists during his four-game point streak.
Winnipeg Jets fans erupted after the goal, and the crowd noise escalated to a whole new level when Mark Stuart walked back out onto the bench during the pandemonium.
"Yeah, honestly after that second goal that's the loudest I have ever heard the building," Little commented at the end of the game. Tanner Glass also took notice, "I think this is the loudest rink I have ever played in, Stanley Cup finals and everything last year, it's a small rink but once it gets rocking it's loud."
The Bruins pulled Tuukka Rask, and put together multiple scoring chances in the dying minute, but it wasn't enough to beat a very selfless Jets squad.
Captian Andrew Ladd was very impressed with his team's effort, "I think this is our biggest win this year against the Stanley Cup champions and earlier on in the year we couldn't get over the hurdle of winning those close games and to do that against the hottest team in the league is a big step for us."
The Jets move to 12-11-4 which puts them over the .500 mark for the first time this season. Tuesday's win now puts them in ninth place in the Eastern Conference one point behind the Ottawa Senators. The Jets get a few days off before they wrap up their five-game homestand on Friday against the Caroline Hurricanes.
Boston forward Tyler Seguin was seen munching on popcorn from the press box during Tuesday night's game. Bruins head coach Claude Julien scratched Seguin after he failed to show up to the team's morning breakfast.
Winnipeg forward Jim Slater went 5-0 on defensive zone face-offs during the last 2:15 of the game. Three of them coming in the last minute.
With the win the Jets are now 3-0 in the month of December and hold a 8-4 record on home ice. The Jets play nine out of their next 11 games on home ice in the month of December.