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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Captain Ladd delivers

Contributes pair vs. Avs to keep his squad alive for another day

Posted: 03/20/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Winnipeg blue-liner Paul Postma crashes into the net just as Blake Wheeler scores the OT winner Wednesday night.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Winnipeg blue-liner Paul Postma crashes into the net just as Blake Wheeler scores the OT winner Wednesday night.

Andrew Ladd did what all captains are asked to do when his command is in a serious nosedive: He latched onto the joystick and pulled back on it with all his might to prevent another crash-and-burn.

The Winnipeg Jets captain scored twice in Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche, was named the game's first star and, in the process, helped keep his club's flickering playoff hopes alive for at least another day.

"That's a big win for us, especially with the goals we gave up," said Ladd, "Sometimes they'll kill your momentum and it makes for a tough time to get back in it. But I thought we did a good job responding every time. We skated well tonight, did some good things and got a big goal from Wheels (Blake Wheeler) in overtime."

Asked why the Jets have played the Avalanche so well this season -- they were 2-1-2 in five meetings, all of them one-goal games -- Ladd grinned.

"We're not that bad of a team," he said. "We've played some good of late and haven't got the results. It was nice to get the results against these guys. We thought we outplayed them the last time we played them (a 3-2 OT loss) and weren't able to come up with a victory so it's nice to come up with the two points."

Ladd's two markers were his 20th and 21st of the season. He's now reached the 20-goal mark in three of the last four years and had 18 in last year's lockout-shortened 48-game campaign.

POSTMA ANSWERS CALL: Imagine the surprise for Jets defenceman Paul Postma early Wednesday evening. Thinking he was going to be scratched again from the lineup, he had just stopped at a Starbucks in the south end and was on the Bishop Grandin Bridge when his phone rang.

Zach Bogosian had pulled up lame in the pre-game warm-up and Postma was to report ASAP because he was being pressed into action.

"One of the trainers called me and told me I might be going tonight," said Postma, who picked up two assists. "It was one of the crazier phone calls I've ever got, but it ended up working out.

"I wasn't exactly ready to go. In the first period the legs and hands weren't exactly there. Something like that, it's more of a mental game. It's not too hard to get pumped up in front of these people and I had a lot of fun out there."

Postma said it was the first time in his career, including minor hockey, that he had ever played without taking the pre-game warm-up skate.

"It's just something you gotta do," he said. "At first I thought (assistant athletic therapist Brad Shaw, who made the call) was joking. But he was pretty serious. At first I was a little bit scared but luckily I took a nap this afternoon."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 20, 2014 D3

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