Archive for February 17th, 2013

Jets drop 3-2 decision to Bruins

- February 17th, 2013

The Winnipeg Jets put forth another determined effort, but saw their home-ice woes continue.

In what may go down as a microcosm for this recently-completed three-game homestand that saw the Jets come away empty-handed, Zach Redmond’s rebound chance just before time expired got behind goalie Tuukka Rask and was on the verge of either crossing the goal-line or bouncing in off the skate of defenceman Johnny Boychuk, but somehow stayed out, allowing the Boston Bruins to hang on for a 3-2 victory at MTS Centre on Sunday.

This is not to suggest that the Bruins were hanging on for dear life, because they weren’t.

But if it was Jets blue-liner Ron Hainsey standing where Boychuk was, you get the feeling would have somehow bounded off his skate and into the net, sending the game into overtime.

That’s not an indictment on Hainsey either, as he’s been one of the most consistent performers on the Jets’ this season. However, his bad luck around his own goal has been uncanny. With the Jets holding a 1-0 advantage on the strength of a goal from Alex Burmistrov, the Bruins pulled even just past the midway point of the first when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara sent a wrist-shot toward the net and it appeared to be tipped in by the stick of Tyler Seguin and off the pants of Hainsey and past Ondrej Pavelec.

The play was reviewed to be sure it wasn’t knocked in by a high stick and during the stoppage, the TV cameras caught the frustration of Hainsey on the bench. The unofficial count from one observer has it as the fifth time in 14 games that the opposition has banked a puck in off Hainsey. Given his run of misfortune, you have to think that Hainsey is due to bank a shot of his own off an opponent for his first goal since March 12 of 2011.

Late in the second period, Nik Antropov found Evander Kane in front and he converted his second opportunity to put the Jets up 2-1, snapping his eight-game slump in the process.

There were only 26.3 seconds left on the clock and folks inside the building were beginning to think the Jets might be able to knock off the big, bad Bruins once again.

But before they were done cheering the official goal announcement, Boychuk took a shot from the right point that was tipped home by Daniel Paille with 1.5 seconds left in the middle frame, essentially sucking the air right out of the balloon and sapping the momentum the Jets had just grabbed.

Nine seconds into the third period, Hainsey was forced to haul down Brad Marchand on what could have been a penalty shot from our vantage point. Regardless, Marchand cut through the middle 36 seconds into the third and whipped a backhand past Pavelec that put the Bruins up for good.

Ultimately, the Jets lost for the fourth consecutive time on home ice and third defeat overall as they fell to 5-8-1, tumbling into a tie for 14th spot in the Eastern Conference with the Washington Capitals.

The Jets effort during the past two games was there, but this is a results business, as the saying goes.

This type of effort must become the norm for the Jets to have an opportunity to win games, especially with a five-game road trip on tap and nine of the next 11 games to be played away from MTS Centre, where the Jets are only 3-5 this season.

“I don’t want to say this is the most important road trip of the season, but the next five or six games are going to be huge. If we don’t play well on the road, we could be in big trouble,” said Pavelec, who essentially hit the nail on the head in speaking with reporters.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd had been carrying the hot stick in recent games but on Sunday, it was the unit of Kane, Burmistrov and Antropov that supplied both goals.

“There was a little chemistry with the (Burmistrov) line. That’s what I enjoyed watching,” said Noel. “It looked like they were going, and Evander was skating, and (Antropov) made some good plays, even on (Burmistrov’s) goal. I just liked the fact they looked like they were clicking. I didn’t find that the game before.”

Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian had another strong game on the back end in his second game back and should only get better the more he plays.

Speaking of the blue line, Noel said that Toby Enstrom would be out a couple weeks with his shoulder injury and didn’t say it was separated during his brief update given during his post-game presser.

Full marks to the Bruins for playing a sound road game, who were without power forward Milan Lucic (back in Boston tending to a personal matter).

One of the plays that grabbed my attention came during the first period when the Jets found themselves on a 4-on-2 rush (and Chara without a stick that had exploded in his hands after unloading a slapper) but were unable to create a quality scoring chance because Seguin hustled back and broke up the play with a diving effort. Seguin had been enduring some difficulty scoring but that was the type of play that was sure to bring a smile to the face of Bruins head coach Claude Julien. It was all about effort on the back-check and not surprisingly, Seguin scored just his third goal of the season later in the first period on the deflection.

The Jets open the five-game road trip on Tuesday night in Buffalo and I’ll be on the swing throughout.