(c) Geoff Brookes
Well, we’ve covered the tumultuous events of the last week.
So what happened in the games?
In our last weekly report, the Jets had just turned the corner. After a series of lacklustre games after the all-star break, they began to play that style of hockey again, forechecking, controlling the puck, and clogging up passing lanes. The finished the week with strong games against Chicago (overtime loss) and Colorado (big win).
On Tuesday night, they played the red hot Minnesota Wild. Devan Dubnyk had been playing the best hockey of his young career, with four shutouts in his last 9 games with the Wild.
Could the Jets overcome the Wild in a key “four point game”? (There’s a throwback expression!).
The Jets played a tremendous game Tuesday night, controlling the play for long stretches of the game. They were out-shooting the Wild 10-0, just five minutes into the game! But Dubnyk held the Wild in the game. Finally, Toby Enstrom scored on a weak shot from the point, which was actually deflected by a Minnesota defender!
Unfortunately for the Jets, Minnesota tied the game just a few minutes later. The Jets continued to control the play, especially as the third period drew to a close, and during the overtime period.
Then Dustin Byfuglien took control. From a standing start, he outraced a Wild defenseman to the puck at the Winnipeg blue line. Using his speed, he raced up the right side on a two on one, with Blake Wheeler coming up the middle. Buff waited patiently, watching Wheeler all the way in, as Buff closed the gap to the Minnesota net, still watching Wheeler.
Then, in a flash, Buff whipped the puck from his feet to the top far corner – off the post and in!!!!
Jets win! Jets win! Although Minnesota got a point, the Jets got the crucial 2 points to advance in the standings!
The Jets’ next two games would be tough ones – on the road in Nashville, and then in Detroit.
The Jets new players (Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford) joined the team for the game in Nashville. The Jets played very well, controlling most of the second and third periods, but fell to a very hot Pekka Rinne.
My column from Sunday detailed their dramatic comeback victory over the Wings on Saturday night. It was so terribly important to gain momentum with that victory, in which Myers and Stafford played key roles for the Jets. With the victory, the Jets achieved a “split” in 2 of the toughest games on their post-All-star game schedule, and won 2 out of 3 for the week.
As good as the week was, the Jets’ Western rivals just keep pouring it on:
Minnesota – 7 out of a possible 8 points (losing only to Winnipeg in OT).
Dallas – 4 out of 6 possible points – BUT Seguin is injured for several weeks, and their last game was a loss to Colorado.
Colorado – 2 out of 4 points.
In the Pacific –
San Jose – just 3 out of a possible 8 points.
Vancouver – 4 out of a possible 8 points.
Calgary – just 2 out of a possible 6 points.
LA – 6 out of 6!
With the top teams in the Pacific fading, and LA surging, it makes you wonder –
Will LA jump back into the race?
Will the surging Jets and Wild capture both of the wild card spots?
And – will Chevy continue to build the Jets for the stretch run, by adding another forward or two?
Stay tuned! It’s a barn-burner race to the finish in the West!