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Jets beat red-hot Bruins before loud crowd

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Just so we’re clear here: the Stanley-Cup champion Boston Bruins still have possession of the storied old chalice and still sport the proverbial championship belt around their waist.

But these upstart Winnipeg Jets — backed once again by another rabid home crowd at MTS Centre — did something to the Bruins nobody else in the National Hockey League has done in over a month and the course of 15 games:

They bloodied the champ’s lip and blackened his eye in a 2-1 victory that ended the Bruins’ 15-game points streak.

So... how ‘bout them apples?

"I thought we got a lot of good games from a lot of people," said Jets’ head coach Claude Noel. "It was really pretty impressive to watch us play. It’s funny when you go through these stretches how much confidence helps. There’s a lot of trust being built within the room with the players. I think we believe we can get this thing done. We’re playing smart, we’re following the details and getting the job done. I don’t have to say very much... it’s pretty good."

Consider this for your consumption while contemplating the magnitude of the victory — no doubt soon to be forgotten by the Beantowners but among the early-season highlights of the Jets’ return:

—The Bruins had run up a 14-0-1 record in their last 15 games; their longest point streak since going 15-0-2 in 1983;

—Boston had out-scored their opponents 66-27 over that streak, the lone blemish a 3-2 shootout defeat against Detroit on Nov. 26th.

And now consider this: the Jets have won three straight and six of their last seven at home to not only move to over .500 for the first time this season at 12-11-4, but also leap-frog over the Washington Capitals into second place in the Southeast Division, six points behind the Florida Panthers.

The Jets carried a 1-0 lead into the third period after captain Andrew Ladd beat Bruins’ netminder Tuukka Rask short side for his ninth goal of the season late in the first. But the champs answered in the third after a giveaway in the Jets zone when Shawn Thornton had a shot from the corner deflect in off him past Ondrej Pavelec.

It’s here where the Jets showed some jam, counter-punching when Bryan Little beat Rask with a shot through the five-hole for his eighth of the season and a 2-1 advantage that brought the sold-out crowd to its feet for a standing ovation that has rivalled any this season in decibel count.

"Honestly after that second goal there, it was the loudest I’ve ever heard the building," said Little. "My ears were ringing. I couldn’t hear anything. Loudest I’ve ever heard it."

Winnipeg then hung on during some dramatic moments down the stretch in which the Bruins — minus leading scorer Tyler Seguin, who was scratched just before the game for missing a team meeting and club breakfast — stormed the Jets’ net repeatedly. Milan Lucic missed a glorious chance inside the final four minutes before Pavelec stoned Nathan Horton with two huge saves with less than 100 seconds remaining.

As dramatic as the night was, it’s back to work Wednesday with the Carolina Hurricanes here on Friday and the Jets in Detroit on Saturday.

"I do understand everything surrounding it and there might be a lot of media play on this game and all that stuff," Noel said. "We’re not going to be separating our shoulders patting ourselves on the back for this one. I’m just happy the way we’re playing and I want to just keep it going and they do, too. Tomorrow’s another work day. So can you tell the players to get ready for work tomorrow and don’t enjoy the win too much?"

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Jets Q&A

Bryan Little's third-period goal was the winner as the Winnipeg Jets beat the visiting Boston Bruins 2-1 in NHL action at the MTS Centre Tuesday. Andrew Ladd scored in the first period for the Jets, his ninth of the year. Shawn Thornton scored for the Bruins three minutes into the third period. The teams played a scoreless second period.

Game preview

WINNIPEG - The Stanley-Cup champs are in town, so excuse the Winnipeg Jets if they are a little more consumed by the Boston Bruins being here than any discussion about NHL conference realignment right now.

And so the general consensus in the Jets’ dressing room Tuesday morning as to the NHL’s new conference look -- upon approval by the players’ association Winnipeg will move into a central conference with Chicago, Minnesota, St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Columbus and Detroit -- was along the lines of ‘looks good, but get back to us later upon further review.’

“I wasn’t expecting that,” said Jets’ centre Bryan Little. “I think most people were expecting something not as radical. It’s going to be fun for the fans, they get to see all the teams and all the players (each team will play a home and home against the entire NHL). It’s going to be interesting, especially for us… we’ve been in the Eastern Conference, that’s the only teams I’ve played against so it’s going to be different playing against those Western teams.”

Discussions about playoff formats and rivalries for the most part brought a shrug of the shoulders. But there was a collective thumbs up to the move to a division that will mean a lot less hours on the team’s charter regularly jetting to current Southeast Division places like Tampa, Sunrise, Fla. Raleigh, N.C. and Washington.

“It looks a little better,” said Kyle Wellwood. “There were some teams that have had it rough for a number of years with a lot of coast-to-coast travel and that should help them a lot.

“It’s a totally different lifestyle. I remember playing in the East and it seems like you’re home every night. You can have a quick road game during the week and you hardly notice it. Out West you get the long road trips and it’s a little more difficult.

“The travel arrangements and time zones matter to players and that’s what they corrected the most.”

“It’s going to be a lot easier for us, we don’t have to go three or four hours down to Florida and the Southeast and stay in the same time zone,” added Evander Kane.

“It’s interesting. We’ll go to a lot of different cities that I haven’t been to in the past. I like the fact that you get to do a home and home with every team in the league, that’s a good thing.”

The Jets also made a couple of roster moves on Tuesday, claiming Ben Maxwell off waivers and assigning him – along with defenceman Brett Festerling – to the St. John’s IceCaps. Maxwell , 23, had started the season in Winnipeg, but was claimed off waivers by the Anaheim Ducks. He appeared in six games with the Ducks before being put on waivers.

Festerling was taken off injured reserve and assigned to the AHL after appearing in five games with the Jets before suffering a suspected concussion.

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

History

Updated on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 1:00 PM CST: Adds game-day preview

8:14 PM: Adds first period summary

9:06 PM: Adds second period summary

11:12 PM: Adds final write through

11:22 PM: Adds quotes

December 7, 2011 at 9:57 AM: Adds slideshow

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