Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets survive Hurricanes, win 4-3

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RALEIGH, N.C. — There have been grittier efforts and there have been jaw-dropping masterpieces. There have been memorable virtuoso performances and games that will be dropped into a time capsule and relived for years to come.

But ask yourself this, Jets fans: In the rebirth of the franchise, has their been a more compelling victory than Thursday night’s wildly sloppy, highly emotional 4-3 decision over the Carolina Hurricanes?

Given the circumstances of the day — defenceman Zach Redmond had three-hour surgery after having the femoral artery on his leg cut by a teammate’s skate blade during the game-day morning skate — the Jets’ win should be remembered as more than just their third straight on the road.

"The mood was not quite the same before the game, knowing what happened this morning," said Blake Wheeler, who led the Jets with two goals. "But it feels great that we were able to find a way to win for him. Hopefully that will put a smile on his face."

First period

Working against some early Carolina pressure, the Jets counterpunch and score on a Wheeler blast. But if there was one word to describe the opening 20 minutes for the Jets, one that can be used in the newspaper, it would be this: sloppy.

"We came out in the first eight minutes and looked fairly rattled," said head coach Claude Noel. "It was a game that was difficult to manage and, for whatever reasons, that episode (the Redmond injury) had an effect on it. It certainly looked like it did."

Second period

No scoring for either team, although the opportunities were served up on a size-large silver platter. Both teams had five-on-three power plays but couldn’t finish. That’s a credit to the penalty-kill units, but a nightmare development for those on the power play.

Third period

The Jets’ big line comes to life at critical times. Andrew Ladd puts the Jets ahead, watches that lead disappear 47 seconds later and then sets up Wheeler for the winner with a clever little flip pass that caught him in stride.

The Ladd-Little-Wheeler line, FYI, combined for three goals and six points. And Ladd — who began his career with the Canes before being traded to Chicago then Atlanta — may soon be looking for a new dinner partner on his next visit to Raleigh.

"I had dinner with (Carolina goalie Cam Ward) last night," he said with a grin. "So... maybe he’ll stop inviting me over."

After the buzzer

The dramatics of the day will overshadow temporarily this juicy nugget: The win was the Jets’ third straight on the road and second on this five-game swing that still has stops in Philly, Jersey and New York.

And for all the fretting about the team’s inconsistency, they are now 7-8-1 and two points out of the Southeast Division lead.

"It was big just to find a way to win," said Wheeler. "It wasn’t necessarily our ‘A’ game. That’s the way hockey goes; you’re not always going to win games when you play a perfect game. Buffalo is probably as close as we’ve come to playing that way, but that’s not the way you get the job done in this league. You’ve got to find a way to win when you don’t have your best game."

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca
Twitter:@WFPEdTait

 

Pre-game report

PNC Arena 6 p.m.

TV: TSN Jets;

Radio: TSN 1290

 

 ABOUT THE HURRICANES

  • The Canes lead the Southeast Division, but are coming off a 3-0 loss at Montreal on Monday, the first time they've been held off the scoresheet this year.

 

  • Captain Eric Staal is thriving under head coach Kirk Muller. Staal was held without a point Monday at Montreal, ending his 11-game point (8G, 9A) streak that is the longest in the NHL this year.

 

  • Carolina has been hit with an injury bug lately, losing Tim Gleason and Joni Pitkanen. On Monday, they recalled both Riley Nash and Jeremy Welsh from Charlotte.

 

  •  Two juicy head-to-head, Canes vs. Jets stats: 1. Carolina is 9-4-2 in the clubs' last 15 meetings, and have scored three or more goals in 13 of the last 19 games between the teams. 2. The road team has won 12 of the last 18 meetings between the clubs.

 

  • An omen, perhaps? Jets centre Olli Jokinen has 57 points (20G, 37A) in 55 games against Carolina.

 

30 Cam Ward

31 Dan Ellis

4 Jamie McBain

8 Kevin Westgarth

11 Jordan Staal

12 Eric Staal

14 Andreas Nodl

19 Jiri Tlusty

20 Riley Nash

21 Drayson Bowman

23 Jeremy Welsh

24 Bobby Sanguinetti

27 Justin Faulk

28 Alexander Semin

29 Tim Wallace

37 Tim Brent

39 Patrick Dwyer

44 Jay Harrison

47 Michal Jordan

53 Jeff Skinner

59 Chad LaRose

77 Joe Corvo

 

WINNIPEG JETS

31 Ondrej Pavelec

32 Eddie Pasquale

4 Paul Postma

5 Mark Stuart

6 Ron Hainsey

8 Alex Burmistrov

9 Evander Kane

12 Olli Jokinen

13 Kyle Wellwood

14 Anthony Peluso

16 Andrew Ladd

17 James Wright

18 Bryan Little

19 Jim Slater

20 Antti Miettinen

22 Chris Thorburn

24 Grant Clitsome

25 Zach Redmond

26 Blake Wheeler

27 Eric Tangradi

33 Dustin Byfuglien

44 Zach Bogosian

80 Nik Antropov

(Lineups subject to change)

 

--Ed Tait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 21, 2013 D3

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