Boy, are the Jets ever going to miss the Southeast Division.
The Jets exploded for seven goals on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers, marking the first time they scored that many goals since they scored seven goals against … the Florida Panthers.
Jets head coach Claude Noel was full of his famous joy after the game, as he should have been. His team tied a season high with its third straight win, and it remains in the thick of the playoff race.
A few news and notes from Thursday’s game and a look ahead …
• How about that Bryan Little? The Jets centre had a rough week, taking a slap shot in the hand on Tuesday and then getting hit in the face by Erik Gudbranson’s shoulder on Thursday. It didn’t prevent him from notching four points in those two games, however.
• Little is just part of the top line that is humming right now. But is it too Little, too late?
• It was a great night for the Jets and their fans, but it wasn’t very good for them everywhere else. The Capitals won, the Islanders won, and the Senators won. Those were three teams the Jets needed to lose.
• The Jets will have a better understanding of where they truly sit in the Eastern Conference going into their game on Tuesday against Tampa. Washinton, the Islanders, Ottawa and New Jersey will all have played the same number of games as Winnipeg by then, while the Rangers will have only one game in hand.
• The Senators could be six points up on the Jets by then, the Caps and Islanders could be four points up, and the Devils could be two ahead. The good news for the Jets is the Sens play the Devils on Friday, and Islanders and Rangers clash on Saturday. If you’re wondering for whom to cheer, go with the Senators and the Islanders.
• Don’t forget the Jets have always been targeting 52 points as the magic number to get in the playoffs. That means they have to win four of their last six games. So far, so good.
• The Jets are playing some good hockey, that’s for sure, but their opponents during their three-game winning streak haven’t exactly been formidable opponents. The Flyers, Sabres and Panthers were there for the taking, but give the Jets for taking advantage each time.
• What a difference a week makes for Dustin Byfuglien. The big defenceman tied a career high with a plus-4 rating against the Panthers. It’s only the second time in his career he’s accomplished that feat.
• The night wasn’t as good for Ron Hainsey, who turned the puck over on Florida’s first goal and then shoved Tomas Kopecky into Ondrej Pavelec on its second tally. As a result, Hainsey had the second fewest minutes of his season, getting only 18 minutes and 27 seconds of ice time.
• The Jets are practising on Friday morning and then they’ll get Saturday off as part of their longest break between games this season. I wonder if Noel would rather his team go right back to playing games, considering how high its confidence must be right now?