December 7, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Yes, that's the Winnipeg Jets inside the NHL's Eastern Conference playoff line this morning.
But the better news for Jets' fans today is their team seems ready to no longer care about being stylish and is worrying solely on determination.
It's what won them their 14th game of the season Thursday night at the MTS Centre, a 3-1 decision over the New York Rangers to pull to 30 points and two past the Blueshirts into eighth spot in the conference.
"I think that we're focusing on the process of winning; we can feel the excitement generated being at the line, near the line," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "I think that's driving a lot of our game and we're feeding off each other.
"I think our objectives seem to be in the right place now."
Winnipeg, now 6-6 at home, is within one point of sixth-sharing Toronto and New Jersey and within two of fifth-place Ottawa. The Leafs and Sens are on the schedule this weekend.
-- It's another excellent start for the Jets, buzzing early, drawing a penalty and then scoring just 12 seconds into the power play. Nik Antropov took the rebound of Dustin Byfuglien's point wrister and opened the scoring for the second straight game at 1:58.
-- New York's Marian Gaborik fumbled away his penalty-shot chance at 11:17 after being hooked by Byfuglien when he was in alone on Ondrej Pavelec.
-- The Rangers were markedly better as the first period waned, and came out with purpose for the second, getting the game even at 1:11 with captain Ryan Callahan's tip-in goal.
-- The Jets retook the lead later in the period, with Antti Miettinen collecting his first goal of the season when another Byfuglien wrister from the point bounced off his body in front of the crease and rolled past Henrik Lundqvist.
"Somebody said that it was beautiful," Miettinen smiled after the game.
-- The Jets defended pretty well -- gave up only seven shots -- and had chances of their own, eventually getting Andrew Ladd's empty-netter with 38.7 seconds left.
"It's the grey areas, you've got to be solid in the grey areas, chip it out of our blue and in at their blue," Dustin Byfuglien said.
Added Noel: "The third period, I thought we were really good, didn't give them very much. With our patience we ended up getting an empty-net goal."
After the buzzer
-- Two straight games with a power-play goal, after going seven in a row without, elated the coach.
"Write this down, we've scored a power-play goal in every game the last two games and we've won," Noel said. "We've won the special-teams game there and make sure you make a note of that. You guys have been grilling us forever."
-- After winning five of six, the Rangers have dropped two straight on the road this week.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2013 C1