Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Jets beat Canes in OT

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Winnipeg Jets forward Tanner Glass called out his team the other day, demanding they play with passion and effort the rest of the way.

On Friday night he embodied that spirit to the fullest.

The third-line winger broke his foot blocking a shot in the second period of his team’s 4-3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes but only missed a few shifts before coming back to help his team grind out a victory.

The Jets are all but done in the playoff picture, but Glass and a number of veterans were miffed after a poor team effort in Wednesday’s loss to the New York Rangers. Glass insisted these final games mattered for a number of reasons, including the continued remake of this franchise that became known as perennial losers under the banner of the Atlanta Thrashers.

"We’re trying to change the culture and, excuse my French, make this a place where you come to work and bust your ass every day no matter the situation. It has to be a thing that everybody does every day and if you don’t you don’t play," said captain Andrew Ladd, who potted the winner just 16 seconds into overtime. "We talked about showing the character we have in this room and that we owed it to our fans to finish the season on a good note. The first period was pretty disappointing and we came into the room after and talked about it. We needed to get it going and we did."

Developing a winning mentality requires character players and Glass has proven to be just that this season. He’s an unrestricted free agent as of July 1 but GM Kevin Cheveldayoff must have plans to re-sign Glass as he had offers for him prior to the trade deadline. Cheveldayoff elected to keep Glass rather than collect picks because of his importance in the dressing room and on the ice. He’s a core leader that shows the way by example and will be worth the money spent to keep him.

The win gives the Jets a 36-34-8 record for 80 points, six back of Buffalo and Washington for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

All teams have four games remaining on the schedule.

The Jets had lost three straight and have now won just four of their last 11. Friday’s win, however, was a positive in many senses, including the fact it came on the road and was of the comeback variety.

Winnipeg trailed 3-2 heading into the third before Kyle Wellwood tied it to force overtime. Ladd said the players had a heated discussion after the first period and were joined by coach Claude Noel.

"I got involved. The players started it on their own but I had some things I needed to clear up from a coaching standpoint. You have to trust that your room is strong enough to handle those things," said Noel. "Our guys battled back. We needed to play better. I didn’t like the first, but we played better as the game wore on. The perseverance and toughness we played with was really good. Tanner Glass takes a shot and breaks his foot and plays on for a period-and-a-half to finish the game. He’ll be done for the year but that kind of desire and effort is what we’re looking for."

It’s exactly what they should be looking for. Letting Glass slip away this summer would be a step back while retaining him should be viewed as a nice step forward.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless

 

Game preview

RALEIGH, N.C. - Both the Winnipeg Jets and Carolina Hurricanes say the remaining games on their schedules have meaning and they will put forth the effort expected of all professional athletes.

Both teams are playing out the string and while not mathematically eliminated are on the verge of being so but their along with professional pride there is lots to play for.

The Jets and Hurricanes meet tonight (6 p.m., TSNJets, TSN 1290) at Raleigh’s PNC Arena.

“We’re focused on today and we have to empty the tank,” said Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller. “We have our fans to play for and we have a season to complete. We’re not eliminated to this is like Game 7 for us.”

Hurricanes leader Eric Staal has had a difficult season but found his game recently.

“We’ve made a turnaround here and we need to finish strong,” said Staal, who now has 23 goals and 45 assists. “It’s been a hard year but we feel good about where we are going. We can’t let up now.”

Veteran Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey says there are many reasons to play at this time of the season.

“For everybody it’s different. Some are playing for more contract, others for better positioning on the roster next year. We’re 10th now and we don’t want to fall any farther back,” said Hainsey. “You never want to look bad. There are always reasons to be motivated in this business. You don’t want someone to be able to say you don’t care. That’s worse than playing in a big game and making a mistake. If someone can say you mailed it in it reflects poorly and people talk in this game. That’s motivation enough.”

Chris Mason will start in goal for the Jets while veteran forward Nik Antropov will also draw in bumping Ben Maxwell from the lineup. Antropov will skate on a line with Tim Stapleton and Kyle Wellwood while Antti Miettinen moves up with Alex Burmistrov and Evander Kane. Spencer Machacek will join Tanner Glass and Jim Slater.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless

History

Updated on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM CDT: Prepares game preview.

6:16 PM: Updates with first goal

6:44 PM: Updates with Canes leading

7:11 PM: Canes lead 3-1.

7:20 PM: Adds Jets' second goal

8:21 PM: Adds tying goal.

8:40 PM: adds win

10:32 PM: Updates with writethrough

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