July 3, 2015


Record: 43 – 26 – 13

Winnipeg Jets Logo

Winnipeg Jets

Special air quality statement in effect
By Gary Lawless

Even Noel visibly pumped as Jets keep the magic rolling

Claude NOEL, so often impassive on the bench and hiding the emotions that bubble beneath the surface, walked down the tunnel pumping his fist in the immediate afterglow of victory.

Randy Jones stood on the ice slapping the gloves of his teammates as they stepped off the ice.

Dustin Byfuglien, named first star for his winning goal and swallow-his-pain performance, took his curtain call with the panache we've come to expect from him taking one bow and then another with the playoff smirk he so often wears.

Jets fans finally gave one more push of noise in a decibel-defying punch at the roof of the MTS Centre.

And hope lives a little longer in Winnipeg.

The odds remain against them but a magical season that saw the Jets reborn just refuses to die.

With Friday night's spill your drink, jump for joy 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals, the Jets pulled to within two points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

With 11 games to go the Jets are in striking distance and while there remains a strong case for why they're not quite a playoff team, there is also a rope to cling and squeeze for a few more days.

The Jets are attempting to pull themselves along that rope that leads to the post-season and there are many obstacles to bypass this win on Friday was a major one.

Trailing the eighth-place Caps by four points heading into the action, the Jets faced near certain playoff death with a loss and a resulting six-point deficit.

But a win and the Jets would still have reason to hope and fight as the lights begin to dim on this magical season that saw Winnipeg's NHL hockey club once again skate before its people.

With so much to play for, many of the Jets were overcome by the moment and found the stage a little daunting. But three veterans, Byfuglien, captain Andrew Ladd and the oft-beseiged Nik Antropov reveled in the moment and played panic-free hockey when bullets were flying in a patternless mish-mash.

Ladd scored first to pull the crowd into the game. Antropov later when the Jets seemed about to lose the plot. Finally, Byfuglien after the Caps had twice fought back, took his stick and buried the Caps and their will once and for all on this night.

Noel has described his team's push for more hockey as a playoff series against the entire league. Each night it's a new opponent as the Jets fight both time and their own inexperience in this pressurized environment. Momentum is back with Winnipeg, however, after two home wins. Sunday, they'll face a staggering Carolina Hurricanes club.

The win gives the Jets more hope but doesn't relieve them of the weight that grows with each day. There is so little room for error and, like we said, the situation has become improbable.

But folks around here have heard that before. They heard it for 15 years while they waited for their team to come back despite voice after voice saying it couldn't be.

Can't happen. Won't happen. Never happen.

Tell it to someone who will listen. Right now Winnipeg can't hear you.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 17, 2012 C1

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

NHL

Scroll down to load more

Top