Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Victory was no Picasso, but a decent Montoya

  • Print

If you ever wondered what elation, satisfaction and relief might look like when mixed together, it was perfectly depicted by the look on Al Montoya's face right around 10 p.m. Sunday night.

Check that -- it was the same look being worn by just about every player in Winnipeg Jets colours after a sloppy, all-over-the-place, but highly entertaining 5-4 overtime win over the New York Islanders that was Montoya's first with his new squad.

"That's awesome," said Montoya, who kicked out 21 of 25 shots. "I mean, I couldn't have written it any better. Coming from a building and an organization... well, it was great playing with the Islanders, but we were lucky to get 10,000 fans a night and that was empty.

"To come here in a stadium like this where they support hockey next to none, it's special. And to give them a win going away from here is great."

But this victory was hardly like the others in this young 2013 season. In fact, it was completely against the grain when compared to the wins over Washington and Pittsburgh last week. The attention to detail defensively was lost. The turnovers were appalling and regular, just as were passes into skates and the mental mistakes in their defensive zone.

Head coach Claude Noel said afterward that it was hardly a Picasso. But it was a win.

Now, the Jets' party line this year has been to not to read anything too deeply into any victory or loss. Fair enough. But even with all its flaws and warts this one did provide some revealing characteristics. The Jets got contributions from its third line against the Islanders, with both Alex Burmistrov and Alexei Ponikarovsky scoring their first goals of the season, while the power play came alive with a critical goal by Dustin Byfuglien that narrowed a 4-2 Islander lead in the third to a single goal and set up a thrilling finish.

Just as important was this: Montoya, playing in his first game since April of 2011, gave the Jets just enough to eke out a victory. He wasn't perfect -- far from it -- but neither was the crew in front of him. And that has to speak volumes about what the Jets did Sunday night, too.

They vowed not to take the Islanders lightly and, for stretches, did just that. But if maturation is also represented by getting up off the mat after getting socked in the lips, then the Jets showed that when it mattered most late in the third.

And to do it with their No. 1 goaltender on the bench and Montoya in the net could be critical when this condensed schedule hits crunch time later in the spring. So let the man enjoy his moment.

"I waited until that last second in overtime when the goal went in to listen to the fans, and then you hear them erupt," Montoya said. "There's nothing sweeter.

"I thought I gave the team a chance, at the same time, I wanted a few saves. But to get that win... that's all it's about. It's about that getting that win and giving this team a chance. That's why I'm here."

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

default video player to use on WFP

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 28, 2013 C1

History

Updated on Monday, January 28, 2013 at 11:40 AM CST: Alex Burmistrov and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored their first goals of the season.

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.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Throne speech supports Winnipeg, Bowman and Chief say

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the Jets best defenceman so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google