Overcast

Winnipeg, MB

18°c Overcast

Full Forecast

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets off to a flying start

Fans get taste of what team might be able to accomplish

Posted: 10/5/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Advertisement

  • Print
default video player to use on WFP

There are boxes to unpack and some settling in to do yet. And, yes, it's way too early to be making any concrete conclusions.

But it's also not a stretch to say this after the Winnipeg Jets knocked off the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 in their 2013-14 home opener in front of another raucous MTS Centre crowd Friday night:

They are really digging their new neighbourhood among the tall trees in the National Hockey League's Western Conference.

And while there were some iffy moments down the stretch -- the Jets held a 4-1 advantage before a pair of late power-play goals by the Kings made things far more interesting than the home side wanted -- they did improve to 2-0 courtesy some big-time contributions from some of the usual faces.

Evander Kane scored twice, Ondrej Pavelec was outstanding, Dustin Byfuglien was a force, Bryan Little and Olli Jokinen were solid, while the work of new faces like Devin Setoguchi, Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba was also critical in the win.

Most importantly, the Jets fulfilled one of their primary objectives heading into the season: to be hard to play against.

"I think we've stressed we need to play the right way on a nightly basis," said captain Andrew Lad. "That's the biggest thing. We've seen it in spurts over the last couple of years, and being on the outside looking in we've realized that's not good enough. What we've come up with as a group is that we want that every night and we've stressed that. I think you've seen that so far."

Home debut redux

The home-opener win was the Jets' first since their rebirth in Winnipeg after serving up two duds in their first attempts -- the 5-1 stinker to Montreal in Year 1 and last season's 4-1 yawner against Ottawa. And, just FYI, the last time this franchise opened a campaign with consecutive wins was 2009-10 when the Atlanta Thrashers knocked off Tampa and St. Louis.

On Friday both Kane and Blake Wheeler pointed to using their speed and physical play to key a home-ice turnaround this season -- the Jets had just the 21st-best home record last season -- and while they were outshot 18-7 in the first period, the two clubs were knotted at 1-1 and Winnipeg had dominated the hit parade 13-7.

"You put the puck in the net in this building and you get to feed off the crowd," Ladd said. "The energy was awesome. We need to keep putting the puck in the net here because it's fun to play here when the crowd is energized."

 

Engaged, all right

With apologies to Pavelec, who was outstanding -- especially early -- the best player on the ice was Kane. Interestingly, his engagement to longtime girlfriend Ashley Chamberland was all over social media late Thursday and No. 9 was certainly engaged against the Kings. His stat line was absolutely gaudy: two goals, one assist, eight shots, five hits, nine minutes in penalties -- including a second-period scrap with Colin Fraser -- along with one blocked shot in 14 minutes and 38 second of ice time.

"We got to the body early and against a team like L.A. you have to let them know you're not going to be run out of your own building," said Kane. "We did a good job of sticking up for each other and being physical. Those kinds of things lead to turnovers and people second guessing themselves."

 

The kids are all right

The Jets may be concerned about all the hype surrounding Trouba and Scheifele, but the two first-rounders are already staples on the second line and second defence pairing. Scheifele, who looks far more comfy now than in the pre-season, picked up an assist, drew a couple of penalties and was plus-2 while Trouba played 20:53 and was solid through 40 minutes before a pair of giveaways in the third period.

Interestingly, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and head coach Claude Noel had a little chat with both youngsters on Thursday to pat them on the back for their work in the opening-night win against Edmonton, stress the importance of rest and nutrition and then hammered home that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.

"We had a nice chat, talked about Game 1. We said, 'Guys, keep on going. You'll get the opportunities as you deserve them and as they come,'" the Jets GM told LeBrun. "They're both very humble kids, but they're both showing a lot more maturity than a lot of 19-year and 20-year-olds."

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

-- with files from Gary Lawless

  • Brayden Carriere and his father Troy cheer as the Winnipeg Jets hit the ice.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Brayden Carriere and his father Troy cheer as the Winnipeg Jets hit the ice.

  • Tobias Enstrom defends against Justin Williams (14) in the first period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Tobias Enstrom defends against Justin Williams (14) in the first period.

  • Prior to opening faceoff.

    TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Prior to opening faceoff.

  • Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) deflects the puck in the first period while Los Angeles Kings' Dustin Brown (23) tries to keep the puck in front of the net.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) deflects the puck in the first period while Los Angeles Kings' Dustin Brown (23) tries to keep the puck in front of the net.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) tries to slow down Los Angeles Kings' Justin Williams (14) in the first period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) tries to slow down Los Angeles Kings' Justin Williams (14) in the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) takes on Los Angeles Kings' Justin Williams (14) in the first period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) takes on Los Angeles Kings' Justin Williams (14) in the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' James Wright (17) tries to slow down Los Angeles Kings' Slava Voynov (26) in the first period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' James Wright (17) tries to slow down Los Angeles Kings' Slava Voynov (26) in the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets (from left) Paul Postma, Mark Stuart, Evander Kane, and Mark Scheifele celebrate Kane's first-period goal.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets (from left) Paul Postma, Mark Stuart, Evander Kane, and Mark Scheifele celebrate Kane's first-period goal.

  • Winnipeg Jets Evander Kane swipes at a loose puck behing Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the first period.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets Evander Kane swipes at a loose puck behing Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the first period.

  • Devin Setoguchi (40) of the Winnipeg Jets tries to slow down Los Angeles Kings' Anze Kopitar (11) in the first period of Friday night's home opener at the MTS Centre.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Devin Setoguchi (40) of the Winnipeg Jets tries to slow down Los Angeles Kings' Anze Kopitar (11) in the first period of Friday night's home opener at the MTS Centre.

  • Los Angeles Kings' head coach Darryl Sutter talks to his team during the first period.

    JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Los Angeles Kings' head coach Darryl Sutter talks to his team during the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) takes out Los Angeles Kings' Kyle Clifford (13) as Jets' Chris Thorburn (22) chases down the puck during the first period.

    JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) takes out Los Angeles Kings' Kyle Clifford (13) as Jets' Chris Thorburn (22) chases down the puck during the first period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) stickhandles the puck past Los Angeles Kings' Mike Richards (10) in the second period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) stickhandles the puck past Los Angeles Kings' Mike Richards (10) in the second period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd (16) tries to stuff the puck past Los Angeles Kings' goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) in the second period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Ladd (16) tries to stuff the puck past Los Angeles Kings' goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) in the second period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) stickhandles around Los Angeles Kings' Willie Mitchell (33) in the second period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) stickhandles around Los Angeles Kings' Willie Mitchell (33) in the second period.

  • Jacob Trouba (8) takes control of the puck from behind the Jets' net while Los Angeles Kings' Dwight King (74) is hot on his heels in the second period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Jacob Trouba (8) takes control of the puck from behind the Jets' net while Los Angeles Kings' Dwight King (74) is hot on his heels in the second period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) and Los Angeles Kings' Willie Mitchell (33) look on as a shot taken by Olli Jokinen (12) goes in over goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) during the second period of play.

    TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) and Los Angeles Kings' Willie Mitchell (33) look on as a shot taken by Olli Jokinen (12) goes in over goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) during the second period of play.

  • Winnipeg Jets Evander Kane fights with Colin Fraser during the second period.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets Evander Kane fights with Colin Fraser during the second period.

  • Winnipeg Jets Evander Kane fights with Colin Fraser during the second period.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets Evander Kane fights with Colin Fraser during the second period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) and Olli Jokinen (12) celebrate Jokinen's goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period.

    JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) and Olli Jokinen (12) celebrate Jokinen's goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period.

  • A Winnipeg Jets shot gets past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) and hits the top-left corner during the second period.

    JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    A Winnipeg Jets shot gets past Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick (32) and hits the top-left corner during the second period.

  • Los Angeles Kings' Justin Williams (14) hits Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) with his stick as they both reach for a puck during the third period.

    TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Los Angeles Kings' Justin Williams (14) hits Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) with his stick as they both reach for a puck during the third period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Devin Setoguchi (40) and Mark Scheifele (55) celebrate a third period goal against the Los Angeles Kings' during the third period.

    TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Devin Setoguchi (40) and Mark Scheifele (55) celebrate a third period goal against the Los Angeles Kings' during the third period.

  • Winnipeg Jets (from left) Tobias Enstrom, Bryan Little, Jim Slater and Andrew Ladd celebrate the team's late empty-net goal in the third period, giving the Jets a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets (from left) Tobias Enstrom, Bryan Little, Jim Slater and Andrew Ladd celebrate the team's late empty-net goal in the third period, giving the Jets a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

  • Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) makes a save while Los Angeles Kings' Jeff Carter (77) goes for a rebound in the third period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) makes a save while Los Angeles Kings' Jeff Carter (77) goes for a rebound in the third period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Eric Tangradi (27) is held back during a scramble behind the net by Los Angeles Kings' Robyn Regehr (44) in the third period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Eric Tangradi (27) is held back during a scramble behind the net by Los Angeles Kings' Robyn Regehr (44) in the third period.

  • Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) and Mark Sheifele (55) celebrate after a third-period goal.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) and Mark Sheifele (55) celebrate after a third-period goal.

  • Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) makes a glove save in the third period.

    MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) makes a glove save in the third period.

default video player to use on WFP

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 5, 2013 C3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

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.

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 April 16, 2010.