Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets getting hang of Pearn's penalty-killing system

  • Print

Shortly after killing a five-on-three situation, Jets left-winger Evander Kane (right) scored what proved to be the winning goal against the Devils on Sunday.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Shortly after killing a five-on-three situation, Jets left-winger Evander Kane (right) scored what proved to be the winning goal against the Devils on Sunday. Photo Store

In terms of quality, their first six games have been all over the NHL map.

But there is evidence that the Winnipeg Jets, now 3-3 after Sunday's 3-0 home-ice victory over the New Jersey Devils, are putting one element of their game into the asset category.

The team's penalty-killing was a clear spark on Sunday, including a crucial five-on-three kill of 72 seconds early in the second period.

Moments after taking care of that business, Evander Kane came up with what proved to be the winning goal.

"I don't know if it was the turning point but there were a couple of big plays, (Mark) Stuart had a big block and a couple of big plays, iced it a couple of times, fired it down and really good efforts, some sacrifices," said Jets coach Claude Noel, trying to hold back on the gushing. "Those are rallying points. I'm not sure if it's a turning point, but you could look at it that way."

The night's tally was five for five on the penalty kill, making the Jets 90 per cent in their last four games.

It's still early, and in the six games they've played, three nights have seen their opponents score twice on the power play. That puts the team's overall tally at 80 per cent (24 for 30) but it's a whole lot better than last year's start and currently right in the middle of the league pack heading for tonight's home game against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m., TSN Jets, TSN 1290).

A season ago, the Jets had a miserable penalty-killing record with a new approach to start the season.

They eventually figured it out and though all the analysts and pundits pointed to their overall mediocre lockout-year mark of 24th of 30 teams at 79.7 per cent, that level was skewed by the most horrible of starts.

A closer examination showed the Jets were a top-three penalty-kill team over last season's final 31 games -- when the pressure was really on -- allowing just 10 power-play goals (87.8 per cent) in that span.

"Starting last year, Perry (Pearn, assistant coach) kind of brought in a whole new philosophy. It was different and for me personally, I really enjoyed it because you get to pressure up ice, you get to screw up their breakout, which screws up their whole power play," Kane said. "Once everybody bought into it, trusted one another on the ice, it was obviously very successful.

"It's obvious when we do it well, it works."

Jets centre Bryan Little, another key member of the killing unit, said Sunday's efforts against the Devils showed what the Jets are capable of.

"Tonight was a good example; it's exactly the way we wanted to play it," Little said. "We're aggressive, kind of working as one out there. That's big because if one guy's not doing the same thing as the others, it's going to throw it all off.

"When we're working as a group we're really good."

Opposition power plays can be a murderer's row of snipers and playmakers on any given week in the NHL.

The Jets have stopped paying attention to that.

"You can't be in awe of who you're playing against," Little said. "If you kind of respect those guys too much, you'll give them too much space or ease up on them. You've got to, if anything, be hard on them, let them know you're there, bump them, do anything to get in their way."

Added Kane: "Not respecting their players is key. If you do that, it's hard for anybody."

Coming off Friday's dismal home loss in which Dallas scored twice on the power play, Kane said the Jets knew what to do because they've been getting so much better at it.

"I think we were disappointed with our penalty killing as a group in the last game," he said. "We wanted to redeem ourselves. As a group, we were a lot more focused on our assignments through the neutral zone and we pressured the puck when they were under duress.

"I think pressure in this league is the key, taking away time and space."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 15, 2013 C3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Willy wants to get back to winning

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canadian geese perch themselves for a perfect view looking at the surroundings from the top of a railway bridge near Lombard Ave and Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg- Standup photo- May 01, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think e-cigarettes should be banned by the school division?

View Results

Ads by Google