Jets Hang On For 1-0 Win Over Coyotes
Shane Doan made his first appearance in a regular season NHL game in Winnipeg since the Jets played their final game in 1996. Although his team was booed relentlessly throughout the game, the 1st round pick of the Winnipeg Jets of '96 was given a standing ovation during the 1st period. It wasn't enough however, as the Jets (2.0) held on for a 1-0 win over the Coyotes.
The crowd was easily the 6th man on the ice in the early stages of the first period. For the first time in recent memory, the entire opposing team was booed whenever they touched the puck, and the negative engery seemed to effect the Coyotes when handling the puck in their own zone.
The Jets applied some early pressure and gained some quality momentum in a 1st period pace that seemed to pick up as each minute went by. However, Phoenix did manage to gain control of themselves and got a quality scoring chance when Kyle Turris and Raffi Torres broke in on Ondrej Pavelec on a 2-on-1. The Winnipeg netminder stood strong and made an impressive save on the streaking Coyotes.
Shortly after the huge stop in goal, Winnipeg moved the puck quickly through the neutral zone and managed to turn the rush into a 2-on-1 of their own. Evander Kane and Bryan Little dished the puck until Kane finally fired the puck on net, only to hit the post. Bryan Little stuck with the play, however, and stuffed home the first goal of the night to give the Jets a 1-0 lead.
Phoenix upped the pressure on the Jets midway through the 1st and put every puck they found in the offensize zone towards Ondrej Pavelc. The Jets masked defender did give out some juicey rebounds, but the Coyotes were unable to capitalize on those chances. Jets coach Claude Noel switched up defensive pairings before the game, and those changes seemed to have paid off defensively early on.
The Coyotes still managed to keep much of the momentum through a fast paced 1st period, and Lauri Korpikoski had a great chance with a one-timer, but again Pavelec was there to shut the door. 1-0 Jets at the end of the 1st.
Bryan Little took a slashing penalty at the end of the opening frame, and Phoenix started the 2nd period on the power-play. The Leagues worst power-play lived up to their standing , and only managed one shot with the extra man.
Another pre-game line mix up shined through in the 2nd period as Alex Burmistrov made the move up to the top line to centre Andrew Ladd and Kyle Wellwood after Nik Antropov was hit with a puck on Tuesday night versus Ottawa. The three 1st line players managed some quality scoring chances and forced the Phoenix defence to stay back.
As the 2nd period wore on, the pace was slower in the first 5 minutes than it was in the previous 20 minutes. However, that would quickly change as the Jets controlled the puck for much of the time at the midway point of the 2nd. However, Phoenix seemed to have an answer for most of the Jets pressure and even managed to make the period seem one-sided in the shot column by ending the period with the shots in favour of them at 27-19.
Kyle Wellwood continued his amazing playmaking by sending an 'alley-oop' pass to a waiting Tanner Glass who was left alone on a breakaway, but a big save by Mike Smith kept the deficit at 1. At the other end, Ray Whitney had a great chance on a one-timer but was stopped once again by Ondrej Pavelec.
Phoenix activated their defence into the offensive play, and during some sequences in the 2nd period, those pinches seemed to backfire as the Coyotes gave up 5 two-on-ones. Credit should go to the d-man left back , however, as all odd man rushes were forced to finish with passes in the air.
Winnipeg started the 3rd on a rare power-play against the league's least penalized team. The Jets power-play has scored in 5 straight home games, but were stuck looking for the special teams goal after the Coyotes penalty was over.
Just a short time later , Daymond Langkow wa caught tripping Dustin Byfuglien in the neutral zone, and the Jets found themselves on the power-play yet again. Phoenix continued their impressive penalty-kill and took only 2 shots.
Mike Smith continued to keep the Coyotes in the game as the Jets kept up the pressure up until the midway point of the 3rd, when Chris Thorburn jumped on a Coyotes turnover and almost shoved the puck home all alone in front of the net.
The Coyotes flipped the offensive switch yet again and started to pour it on for the tying goal as the final 10 minutes started to countdown in the 3rd, but costly defensive and neutral zone turnovers seemed to stall them from generating consistent chances, and although a holding call on a streaking Evander Kane through two defencemen put Winnipeg back on the powerplay, the dogs were able to kill it off and finish the game at 3/3 on the PK.
With just over a minute left in the third, Raffi Torres got a bad bounce as the puck stopped dead in the crease during a great rush by the Coyotes to tie the game. Mike Smith came out for the extra man but the Jets and Ondrej Pavelec stood strong, and the Jets send their former selves home with a 1-0 win and the shutout.