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Jets finally find clear skies

Hockey gods see fit to give local shinny side a few breaks

Just when it seemed like the hockey gods really had it in for the Winnipeg Jets -- and we're talking storm clouds gathering for a nasty window-rattling shaker -- the skies cleared and a teeny-tiny bit of sun shone down on the local shinny side.

Yes, in a game in which the Jets fell behind 3-1 and were shaken by the scene of promising young defenceman Jacob Trouba taken from the ice on a stretcher, they somehow found another gear for a late rally and, ultimately, a thrilling 4-3 shootout victory over Stanley Cup contender St. Louis Blues.

St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko (91) battles with Winnipeg's Matt Halischuk Friday night at the MTS Centre.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko (91) battles with Winnipeg's Matt Halischuk Friday night at the MTS Centre. Photo Store

As a result, the emotion at the MTS Centre was all over the charts, spiking and dipping with some dramatic highs and lows. The win stops an ugly run that had seen the Jets lose four of their last five after opening the season 2-0 and improves their record to 4-4.

It also started an important run of six of seven games against Central Division opponents with a bang.

"It was a good win against a good team," said Jets centre Bryan Little. "Hopefully that gives us some confidence, and that's been lacking lately, that confidence in our game. We've got to believe we can beat teams like this on a nightly basis. This is a great game for us to come back and win.

"There's some things that didn't exactly go our way -- a couple of mistakes and the puck was in our net. But, overall, I thought we showed a lot of character coming back like that. It shows our commitment to winning."

 

THE TROUBA ACCIDENT

Trouba, who has been such a shining light to start the season, was taken from the ice on a stretcher early in the second period after crashing into the end boards while trying to hit Blues' forward Jordan Leopold behind the St. Louis net. The building was eerily quiet for several minutes while the 19-year-old defenceman was placed onto a spinal board, then erupted when he gave the thumbs-up as he was taken from the ice.

The Jets said Trouba was taken to the hospital for X-rays and was alert, communicating and moving all his limbs.

"Something like this, it seems like you see it almost every day," said Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. "It was no fun at all. It was tough to focus, but we handled it pretty well. We knew pretty much right away that it wasn't going to be something serious and he was going to be fine. That's great news."

"Trouba is still getting evaluated, but he's good," said head coach Claude Noel. "He's just getting tested, but I think everything's fine."

The Jets finished the game with just four defenceman -- Zach Bogosian, Grant Clitsome, Toby Enstrom and the game's first star, Dustin Byfuglien -- as Mark Stuart also exited with an undisclosed injury.

 

BETTER START? WELL...

The Jets have been blathering on ad nauseum all week about the importance of posting a solid opening period. And while there were stretches in the first 20 minutes where the home side had some oomph, the first period stats were revealing: Not only were they down 2-1 after two horrible miscues by Clitsome and Trouba that led to goals by David Backes and Alex Steen, they were guilty of six turnovers to the Blues' one, were losing in the faceoff circle and had been outshot 11-9.

 

THE BENCHINGS

Claude Noel rattled some cages, sending Devin Setoguchi, Eric Tangradi and Paul Postma to the press box to give Clitsome, Anthony Peluso and Patrice Cormier a look, and then benched Evander Kane for about 10 minutes in the second after he had taken three minor penalties.

 

THE LATE DRAMATICS, PART I

The Jets were down 3-1 with less than seven minutes left when Kane pulled the club to within one with his fourth goal of the season. And with just 1:54 left, Enstrom tied it with a blast for his first marker of the year.

THE LATE DRAMATICS, PART II

The shootout included seven rounds and featured 14 shooters, with Andrew Ladd, Little and Olli Jokinen scoring for the Jets while Pavelec stopped the last five shooters he faced.

"It feels good to win a game like that," said Bogosian. "We battled hard. They're a good team that plays a really solid team game, and I thought we matched their intensity well and we were a lot more physical than in previous games."

 

--with files from Paul Wiecek and Tim Campbell

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 19, 2013 C3

St. Louis Blues' David Backes (centre) and Alexander Steen (top right) celebrate Backes's first-period goal as Dustin Byfuglien looks away.
Winnipeg Jets' Olli Jokinen scores on St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott during the first period.
St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott gets tangled in Andrew Ladd's stick during the second period.
Jordan Leopold of the St. Louis Blues plays the puck as Jacob Trouba goes crashing into the boards during the second period.
Winnipeg Jets' Jacob Trouba lays on the ice after hitting the boards head-first.
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba lays on the ice as he is tended to by emergency personnel after going hard into the boards head first in the second period.
Winnipeg Jets' Jacob Trouba is attended to by medical personnel on the ice.
Winnipeg Jets' Jacob Trouba (8) is attended to by paramedics after crashing head first into the boards during second period NHL action against the St. Louis Blues in Winnipeg on Friday, October 18, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Jacob Trouba is taken off the ice by paramedics.
Winnipeg Jets' Mark Stuart ends up in the Jets' net after colliding with goaltender Ondrej Pavelec during the third period.
St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie (left) and Alexander Steen celebrate after Steen's second goal of the game in the third period.
Winnipeg Jets defenceman Grant Clitsome collides with St. Louis Blues' Chris Stewart during the third period.
Andrew Ladd hits Adam Cracknell of the St. Louis Blues during the third period.
Winnipeg Jets' Toby Enstrom celebrates his game-tying goal on St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott during third-period action.
Ondrej Pavelec stops Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues during the shootout.
Andrew Ladd celebrates his shootout goal.
Olli Jokinen scores the game-winning goal in the shootout.
Zach Bogosian (left) celebrates with Ondrej Pavelec after the shootout.
History

Updated on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 2:23 PM CDT: added videos

2:29 PM: removed videos

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