Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Jets blank Senators 2-0
KANATA, ONT. — It was the kind of collective, across-the-board performance that screams out backbone and character.
So — and hang on here while the hyperbole machine gets cranked up — given the holes in the Winnipeg Jets roster with no Dustin Byfuglien, no Zach Bogosian and no Blake Wheeler and given it came on the road and against one of the National Hockey League's hottest squads, let it be said that Monday night's 2-zip win over the Ottawa Senators wasn't your average middle-of-the-season, garden variety result.
No, this is the kind of victory that not only ended a three-game losing streak and stopped some serious bleeding, but also has team executives pumping their fists and breathed life into a dressing room in desperate need of some O-2.
"That's really big," said Jets' captain Andrew Ladd. "We've done a great job all year of having guys coming in for the injured guys and playing really well and to a teammate, every guy in here had a great game tonight.
"We wanted to put an end to this losing streak as quickly as possible and get it going the other way to get that good feeling back in the room."
The victory did indeed end a three-game losing skid for a Jets squad that had lost five of its last six. And it keeps them in the Eastern Conference playoff fight with a 21-19-5 record, good for 47 points — still 10th — but just three points behind seventh and eighth-place Washington and Pittsburgh and two back of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are ninth.
"To me it's a real test how you deal with adversity," said head coach Claude Noel. "You have to move forward. I thought the guys faced adversity head on and the only way around is through. That's what we did: we went right through it.
"It was really satisfying because of what we had (due to injuries) but, not only that, with our team we have this black cloud hanging over our third period. So I'm sure everybody in the world was thinking, 'OK, they're up 2-0 going into the third, there's going to be a complete collapse or something again.' But you know what, we never brought it up. The players know they can get the job done and I was most happy about that.
"This was a good game, a good 60-minute game for us," added Noel. "We made them earn every inch of ice. There was no free ice out there for them. It was good to see a consistent effort through our 20 guys."
The Jets got goals from Jim Slater — just 49 seconds into the game — and Tobias Enstrom while Chris Mason kicked out 25 shots for the shutout.
Just as important was the work of the Jets in taking away space for the Senators, particularly in the neutral zone.
"Our forwards were awesome," said defenceman Ron Hainsey. "Their speed in the neutral zone coming back and going forward was awesome.
"That was probably the best game I've played in, and I've only played in half the games, but our play in the middle was really, really good.
"We addressed a lot of stuff (Monday) morning and we were a lot better in the areas we went over. And we kept the attitude that we weren't miles off here if we just keep working."
Updated on Monday, January 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM CST: updated after first period
7:52 PM: updated with second goal
9:18 PM: Updated with final score
10:54 PM: updated with quotes
January 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM: Fix to quote from Noel
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