Strange night at MTS Centre, but there was some good news to report on Jacob Trouba, who was released from hospital after being taken from the ice on a stretcher, the result of a hit attempt gone bad that saw the Winnipeg Jets rookie defenceman crash head first into the boards early in the second period of the game against the St. Louis Blues.
The scary moment and trip to see the doctor apparently didn’t sap Trouba of his sense of humour, as he sent out this tweet from his account @JacobTrouba just after midnight:
“Thanks for the support. If you were wondering, the boards are not edible. I’ll be back soon.”
This was clearly not a laughing matter at the time, as you could essentially hear a pin drop inside MTS Centre after Trouba lay on the ice for several minutes.
If you want to see video of what happened, it can be found here:
Basically, Trouba was in the offensive zone on the forecheck and was trying to check Blues defenceman Jordan Leopold, but he missed with his shoulder, lost his balance and crashed awkwardly into the boards.
The Jets said that Trouba was taken to the hospital for X-rays, but that he was alert and moving all limbs. An update on his condition is expected to be provided following Saturday’s skate at the MTS Iceplex.
Trouba’s teammates — and even the Blues — were concerned for Trouba’s well-being and tapped their sticks in support as the 2012 first rounder left the ice.
Fans were chanting Trouba’s name and he gave them a quick wave as he was carted off.
“It was pretty scary,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel. “Anytime they call out a stretcher, it’s never a good moment, regardless of which team it is.”
As for the game itself, not many teams find a way to rally from a two-goal deficit against the Blues.
After all the talk about bringing more attitude, specifically of the F-U variety (thank you Evander Kane for another money quote), the Winnipeg Jets showed plenty of spunk in the early stages of the game against the St. Louis Blues but found themselves down 1-0 after Grant Clitsome fell to the ice in the corner untouched (likely the result of losing an edge on his skate blade), allowing T.J. Oshie to find David Backes alone at 8:43 of the first period.
The Jets tied it though at 15:30 when Matt Halischuk’s long shot ended up on the stick of Olli Jokinen, who knuckled home a slapper to even things up.
A giveaway by Trouba just inside the Jets’ blue-line allowed Winnipegger Alex Steen to score his first of two goals on the night at 18:14 of the first period.
Steen’s second, at 3:34 of the third put the Blues up by a pair.
A funny thing happened on the way to what looked like a sure Jets loss.
Roman Polak turned the puck over to Bryan Little and Little found Kane, whose long shot actually redirected off the sticks of both Blues’ D-men on the ice, Alex Pietrangelo and Polak, before sneaking past Blues backup Brian Elliott.
It was a big response for Kane, who was benched for more than nine minutes during the second period after taking two more minor penalties to give him five in the past five periods.
The Jets weren’t done there, as Dustin Byfugien made an outstanding cross-ice pass to Toby Enstrom with 1:54 left in regulation time, sending the game to OT, which solved nothing.
The shootout brought some interesting moments as well, going a full seven rounds before a winner was decided.
Andrew Ladd (top shelf to glove side), Little (five-hole) and Jokinen (high glove on a wrister) scored for the Jets, who got five saves in seven attempts from Ondrej Pavelec (who isn’t a big fan of the penalty-shot contest).
For those wondering about why Anthony Peluso was chosen, part of it was surely a hunch by Noel but he’s also shown the ability to score in shootout competitions in practice, so go easy on that one.
Personally, given how well Byfuglien played in his 31 minutes and 37 seconds of ice time, I would have given him the chance to try and end it — maybe with a slapper? — but that’s just me.
Speaking of D-men, Mark Stuart went crashing into the post during the third period, leaving the ice in obvious pain after it appeared he had injured his ribs.
The Jets called it a lower-body issue and I’ll try to get an update Saturday as well.
That left the Jets with only four D-men during a good chunk of the third period and they handled the extra minutes pretty well.
This was the epitome of what Noel likes to call a heavy game and the Jets came away with a 28-21 edge in hits, according to the official stats.
There was more urgency in the Jets’ collective game and aside from spotting the Blues a two-goal lead, was once again close to the formula of how the team needs to play in order to have success on a consistent basis.
No doubt it’s taxing, but that’s what is required when you’re trying to become a playoff team.
Noel made three lineup changes for this game, inserting Clitsome for Paul Postma on D, then adding Peluso and call-up Patrice Cormier up front for Devin Setoguchi and Eric Tangradi, who were both healthy scratches.
I’ve got no issue with Noel trying to create a competitive environment for his players.
Setoguchi had been held pointless the past five games, but can be a dangerous weapon, while Tangradi has been doing a decent if unspectacular job in more of a checking role.
No player will be happy about being a healthy scratch, but let’s see how these guys respond to a little bit of early adversity.
Full marks to the Jets for raising their level of play against a tough Blues team. They could have easily folded the tent and fallen to 3-5, with a tough road ahead.
Instead, they pulled back to .500 at 4-4 and will prepare to face the Nashville Predators on Sunday at MTS Centre before closing out their six-game homestand against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
Talk to you on Saturday or maybe Sunday to tee up the Predators game.