Jets defeat Canadiens 2-1

- February 3rd, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Winnipeg Jets found another way to win on Sunday afternoon, taking advantage of a puckhandling miscue by goalie Carey Price early in the third period that led to the game-winning goal by Michael Frolik.

Frolik buried a pass from Jets captain Andrew Ladd, who caused Price to turn the puck over and wasn’t able to get back into the net in time.

Ladd admitted after that he was trying to bank the puck in off Price himself, but was fortunate the puck ended up on the stick of Frolik instead.

The Jets played a relatively sound game during the third period, showing few signs of panic as they locked down this one-goal victory to improve to 8-2 under Paul Maurice.

“In the third period, when they were in our end, we were comfortable,” Maurice said after the game. “We felt we were better in the third than the first two (periods).”

Personally, I thought it was a strong showing for the Jets overall and I was especially impressed with their defence corps.

Although Zach Bogoisan and Toby Enstrom were caught giving a bit too much space to Brian Gionta on the Canadiens’ goal with the teams playing four-on-four during the second period, they did a solid job overall.

Enstrom had a goal (on a wraparound attempt that caught Price just a little bit off his post) and played more than 26 minutes, while Bogosian played a game-high 27 minutes and 30 seconds, finishing with six shots on goal, three hits and three blocked shots.

The Jets’ shutdown pairing was very good, so were rookie Jacob Trouba and Mark Stuart. Trouba ‘s skating ability as on display throughout, while Stuart finished five shots on goal and four blocked shots in 18-plus minutes of work.

Stuart won the second edition of the aviator helmet as Jets’ player of the game and also drew praise from Maurice afterward.

“That’s the same game every game that I’ve seen,” said Maurice. “Now I have a far greater appreciation for the role he plays in our room, for the leadership he brings and most importantly, how much he is appreciated by the players.

“They all see it, they all get it every night. His name gets yelled from our bench in a positive way more than any other player because he works so hard.”

Stuart was among those involved in a battle with feisty Habs winger Brendan Gallagher.

“He’s a tough little bugger. We had a couple good battles in front,” said Stuart. “You’ve got to give him credit for that. He’s not a very big guy, but he gets into the front (of the net) and doesn’t let guys push him around.

“You respect guys like that.”

Gallagher was the centre of attention during the final minute as he got caught up with Jets goalie Al Montoya in the crease.

Montoya delivered a couple of forearms to Gallagher, who also got some rough treatment from Bogosian and Trouba before finally making his way out of the zone.

“We were all caught up, the ref saw it,” said Montoya. “(Gallagher) was in the zone for 30 seconds. You knew he was doing something for a reason.”

Speaking of Montoya, he had another excellent outing for the Jets, finishing with 30 saves to give him a career-high 10 wins in just 14 starts and 17 appearances.

I asked Maurice if Montoya’s strong play might make his decision about who to start Tuesday night a bit tougher,?

“Probably not,” Maurice said.

To me, that is an indication that he’s planning to go back with Ondrej Pavelec against the Hurricanes.

However, don’t be surprised to see Montoya back in net against either the Washington Capitals or St. Louis Blues.

“When he played the way he did in Chicago (in a 3-1 win last Sunday), you know you’ve got to get a guy like that back in within seven, eight days at the most because (otherwise) you’re starting from scratch all of the time,” said Maurice, when I asked him about the decision to use Montoya against the Canadiens. “He played so well. Just like he did (Sunday). He made some great saves and he just plays well when you put him in the net. That’s great for our team to know that. When he’s in the net, they have confidence in him. It makes the Chicago win even better.”

It was another physical game for Dustin Byfuglien as he racked up 10 hits to go with four shots on goal, two giveaways and three takeaways in 17 minutes and 26 seconds of ice time.

One area of concern for the Jets of late is in the faceoff circle, as they won only 38% of the draws on Sunday.

Another is their power play, which is currently on an 0-for-9 stretch and has only two goals during their past 22 chances.

The Jets flew to Raleigh shortly after the game and skated Monday afternoon prior to facing the Hurricanes on Tuesday as this four-game pre-Olympic break road trip continues.

There weren’t any big developments, though there was plenty of talk about Maurice’s return to Carolina — something he downplayed.

Ladd, Enstrom, Wheeler and Devin Setoguchi took a maintenance day and didn’t skate, though Maurice said all four should be available for Tuesday’s game.

Look for Ondrej Pavelec to get the start in goal for the Jets, while the Hurricanes are expected to counter with Anton Khudobin, who was named one of the NHLs 3 stars of the week.

Cam Ward is back from a conditioning stint, but Khudobin has been on fire lately, giving Kirk Muller little choice but to ride him.

Jets defenceman Zach Redmond returned to the scene of his horrific skate-cut injury for the first time on Monday, but declined to comment about it after.

My best guess is that the reason is two-fold: Redmond is tired of talking about the incident and probably most importantly, he doesn’t want to appear to be seeking attention, since he’s been a healthy scratch in 11 consecutive games.

Both potential reasons are understandable, but I’ll never forget the scene from that day and it still amazes me how far Redmond has come in his recovery during the past year.

In Jets’ prospect news, defenceman Brenden Kichton was awarded American Hockey League rookie of the month honours earlier today after recording three goals and 14 points in helping the St. John’s IceCaps go 9-3 in January.

That will do it for me for now, time to get writing.

In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Monday’s paper and view my other Jets’ stories online at www.winnipegsun.com.

Categories: Hockey

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