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Jets do not go quietly into night

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Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press

Fans scramble for Winnipeg Jets' goalie Michael Hutchinson's game stick after he was awarded the first star of the game after a 2-1 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins at the MTS Centre Thursday.

Not even a little whining was heard from Winnipeg Jets’ quarters about Wednesday’s surprising bag-skate.

It turns out it wasn’t that neutral an event and it stirred something in the out-of-the-running Jets one night later, providing some fuel for their come-from-behind 2-1 shootout win against the top team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins.

"It looked like it (the bag skate) didn’t matter," smiled Jets forward Michael Frolik. "Maybe we should have that more often."

The MTS Centre sellout certainly appreciated that the Jets ramped it up instead of whimpering to the close of the regular season’s final home game and head coach Paul Maurice saw that as an equal victory.

"It’s a good team effort," Maurice raved. "They gave what they have left. They showed more in the third period — it wasn’t that they had more energy, for me it was that they had character and they found a way to push themselves past it.

"And that’s the goaltending we need for our group."

Jets rookie goalie Michael Hutchinson made his second straight start this week and was razor-sharp, making 32 saves against the quick Bruins and then turning away three more attempts in the shootout.

Bryan Little provided the shootout marker to help the Jets claim the two points.

Yes, Boston decided to sit out some top players like captain Zdeno Chara, centres Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly.

But the Jets, now 36-35-10 on their season with only tonight’s contest in Calgary remaining, had more absentees than that, including captain Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian and Mark Scheifele, to name just a few.

No surrender

The Jets decided they would not go away quietly on Thursday.

Right-winger Blake Wheeler was in overdrive much of the third period and his speed keyed the tying goal by Evander Kane with just 1:57 left in regulation.

Kane beat Boston netminder Chad Johnson – who’s a spiffy 17-3-3 this season — by ramming Wheeler’s drop pass high to the glove side.

"It was frustrating, that we couldn’t get one by him," Wheeler said. "Their goalie played really well. We created some chances. There was definitely some frustration but we had a good feeling that we were just going to lay it all on the line, that there was nothing to play for except for the fact we’re trying to build something here."

Go, Hutch

Frolik said the Jets were more than conscious of playing well for their Hutchinson, who has been playing the backup’s role for going on three weeks due to injuries to both No. 1 man Ondrej Pavelec and regular backup Al Montoya.

"We didn’t score in our last game and we knew Hutch was playing an unbelievable game today and we just wanted to score for him," Frolik said. "It’s what we said in the room — to go play hard and make sure we find a way to score one. We found a way in the end and I’m very happy for him. He was outstanding.

 

Oh, that skate

Ah yes, more on that Wednesday skate.

Turns out, Wheeler didn’t paint an all-rosy picture of 24 hours ago, yet put a positive big-picture spin on it still.

"We’re a proud group on the ice. Put them through the paces like that and I think it’s going to do a number of things — one of them is it’s going to turn the fire on inside of you a little bit, piss you off a little bit," said the team’s leading scorer with 68 points this season. "This late in the game, I don’t think anyone likes being bag-skated. I think it kind of lit the fire in us yesterday. We had a good morning skate today after that and it really set the tone for these last two games."

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

Live Winnipeg Jets Coverage Twitter bird

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets and Bruins headed to shootout. Mark Stuart with two shot blocks and Michael Hutchinson with a big glove save on the PK. 9:40 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Bruins heading to PP with 39 seconds left in OT as #NHLJets Olli Jokinen takes holding penalty on Jarome Iginla, 9:37 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Extra fun for the final time at MTS Centre this season: #NHLJets and Bruins headed to OT. 9:30 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Evander Kane ties it with 1:57 left for the #NHLJets after a great feed from Blake Wheeler and MTS Centre is rocking for one final time. 9:27 pm on Apr 10

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: Paul Maurice #nhljets is in the mix to coach with Team Canada at world championships 9:27 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets trail Bruins 1-0 after two. Michael Hutchinson emerging again as the top Wpg story with 20 saves and some solid work. 8:36 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets prospect Scott Kosmachuk has two goals tonight for Guelph vs. London. Storm lead 6-3 in 3rd; 2-1 in series. 8:15 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Brad Marchand scores his 5th G in 11 games against the #NHLJets and it's 1-0 Bruins. That will not be on Adam Pardy's highlight reel. 7:27 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets community service award winner is Mark Stuart. 7:02 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Bryan Little is the Dan Snyder Memorial Award winner for dedication and hard work. 7:02 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Blake Wheeler is the winner of the team's Three-Star Award. 7:00 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Last from #NHLJets Wheeler: "I don’t want to see a whole lot of smiles right now. It shouldn’t be fun. This isn’t fun." 12:16 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: More Wheeler: "So I don’t have a whole lot of fun right now coming to the rink. We’ll get there one day, we’re not there yet." #NHLJets 12:15 pm on Apr 10

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Blake Wheeler on whether there should be a level of fun in last 2 games: “You earn that right. We haven’t earned that right." 12:14 pm on Apr 10

History

Updated on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM CDT: Corrects typo.

7:44 PM: Updates score after first period.

8:38 PM: Updates score after second period.

8:42 PM: Changes photo, adds slideshow.

9:33 PM: Updates score after third period.

9:51 PM: Updates final score.

11:36 PM: Replaces pre-game story with post-game story, adds video.

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