Jets defeat Hurricanes 4-3

- February 21st, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. — This wasn’t a typical Win-one-for-the-gipper type of game for the Winnipeg Jets.

But after enduring what must have been an incredibly taxing day — watching teammate Zach Redmond get taken off the ice on a stretcher and into an ambulance, leaving a generous pool of blood behind — the Jets found a way to gut out a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in a game that was important on a lot of levels for them.

Before we get too deep into the game, Redmond had successful surgery (lasting nearly three hours) to repair a laceration to his right femoral artery and vein, which is located above the knee on the mid-thigh on the inside part of his leg.

It’s clear that after doing some research, were it not for the efforts of Jets players and medical staff, things could have been a lot worse for Redmond, who will remain hospitalized in North Carolina for the time being as several family members make their way here to join him as the Jets move on to their next stop on this five-game road trip that is off to a somewhat surprising 2-0 start.

“A wild day, yeah. It’s been tough emotionally, tmost of the plaeyrs didn’t sleep much and I didn’t get much sleep myself,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel. “Right now your thoughts are with the player. I’m waiting to talk to him and see how he’s doing. People that were with him (Jets strength and conditioning coach Lee Stubbs), were saying all Redmond wanted to talk about was ‘how are we doing in the game?’ It pretty much shows you where his heart is. He’s still connected to the team and always will be.”

The Jets said Redmond would be out of the lineup indefinitely and with Toby Enstrom still on the shelf, you’d have to expect the Jets to bring in another blue-liner, either from the St. John’s IceCaps, a free agent or via trade.

Winnipegger Derek Meech would be a logical choice but word from The Rock is that the veteran has missed the past three games with concussion-like symptoms, so he might not be available.

The Jets other contracted players in the minors are all young guys who are not likely ready for their first taste of the NHL. We’ll do our best to monitor the situation on Friday when we catch up with the team in Philadelphia.

Back to the Jets 4-3 win over the Hurricanes, which allowed them to improve to 7-8-1 on the season and move within two spots of top spot in the Southeast Division standings (while remaining 11th in the Eastern Conference).

It was another big game for the Jets’ top line of Blake Wheeler (two goals), Bryan Little (one assist) and Andrew Ladd (one goal, two assists) as they produced three of the four goals and combined for six points.

Wheeler got the Jets off to a strong start by sneaking a quick shot off the stick of Hurricanes D-man Jay Harrison and past Cam Ward just 1:53 into the contest.

Wheeler then delivered the game-winner, just 16 seconds after the Hurricanes had tied the game 3-3 on Jiri Tlusty’s second goal of the game.

“Right through the five-hole,” said Wheeler, who snapped a six-game drought and now has six goals on the season. “I just looked up and (Ward) was starting to go down. It (the five-hole) was wide open. It’s nice to pick your spot once in a while and have it go through.”

Wheeler was sprung loose on the breakaway by Ladd, who flipped his pass high into the air and saw Hurricanes D-man Joe Corvo get a piece of it before falling down, allowing Wheeler to walk in alone.

Just the way Ladd drew it up, right?

“I probably meant to get a little more on it,” said Ladd, who was playing his 500th game against the team that drafted him and captured his first Stanley Cup with. “I was just going to chip it in and I saw he was playing pretty close to Wheeler and he’s tough to keep a close gap on. If he gets a step on you, he’s gone. I just wanted to get it in an area and let him skate into it.”

Evander Kane had the other goal for the Jets, his fifth of the season on a bit of a circus shot that changed direction off Corvo, 2:10 into the third period. Kane now has a point in five consecutive games and is tied for second on the club with 13 points in 16 games.

The Jets’ offensive outburst was their best since defeating the New York Islanders 5-4 back on Jan. 27.

Winnipeg was unable to score during a 5-on-3 that lasted 72 seconds, but they managed to kill one off during the second period as well, so the special-teams battle was a saw-off.

Given the fact the Jets are still 30th in the NHL on the penalty kill, preventing the opposition from scoring during a two-man advantage was a major victory in itself.

“The key was that we killed the 5-on-3 in the second period, it was huge,” said Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. “We did a great job and the guys blocked a lot of shots.”

Mark Stuart blocked two shots during that penalty kill, while Jim Slater and Chris Thoburn also had important blocks during the second period.

Dustin Byfuglien was used in front of the net during the power play once again and caused some havoc, but the closest the Jets came to scoring was when Zach Bogosian rattled a slapper off the post during the 5-on-3.

As for the Hurricanes, one of the highlight-reel plays of the game saw Alexander Semin make a ridiculous behind-the-back and between his own legs pass that went through the legs of Bogosian — who had gone down on one knee to block the pass — and onto the tape of Tlusty, who knotted the game 1-1 with 1:21 left in the first period.

That’s going to do it for now, talk to you again on Saturday morning from Pennsylvania. A 4:40 a.m. ET wake-up call awaits.

Categories: Hockey

Subscribe to the post

Leave a comment

 characters available