Jets spirit away point in Jersey
Undermanned squad mans up, battles hard
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/11/2011 (4163 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
NEWARK, N.J. — Excuse us while we butcher and reverse a Biblical quotation here, but the phrase perfectly describes a plucky Winnipeg Jets squad ravaged by injuries:
The flesh may be weak, but the spirit is willing.
Already without five defencemen in Tobias Enstrom, Mark Stuart, Randy Jones, Ron Hainsey and Derek Meech — and forced to make leading scorer Nik Antropov (hand) a late scratch in the pre-game skate — the Jets rallied valiantly before falling 3-2 in OT to the New Jersey Devils in front of 14,952 at the Prudential Center Saturday night.
That said, the Jets do pick up a point — their seventh of a possible 10 in five games in this current road trip — and are now 5-6-2 overall.
And given the fact their infirmary needs bunk beds to house all the bodies, it’s a point this squad will gladly take.
“A lot of teams, when they’re down 2-0 going into the third against the New Jersey Devils, don’t have much success,” said Jets’ centre Jim Slater. “We showed a lot of poise out there to get that big point that we needed. It’s unfortunate we ended losing in overtime, but it was a good, solid team effort to get that point for us.”
It was Slater who completed a Jets’ comeback from down 2-0 after two periods as he rifled his fifth of the season past Martin Brodeur with just 2:45 left in the contest. Defenceman Mark Flood provided the spark for the Jets in the third with his first career NHL goal, hammering home a shot from the point.
And while the Jets’ managed to kill an Evander Kane hooking penalty picked up with 48 seconds left in the game and carried over into OT, a defensive breakdown in extra time cost the club as rookie Adam Henrique gobbled up a fantastic feed from Zach Parise and then beat Ondrej Pavelec on a breakaway.
All three Devils’ goals came after glaring Jets’ errors. Patrik Elias scored on a two-on-one and Henrique followed with his first of the game less than nine minutes later on a bad pinch by Dustin Byfuglien.
“We were lucky to get a point out of that one,” said defenceman Zach Bogosian. “That’s a huge point for us. This road trip is getting long and we’re battling every night to get those crucial points. We stuck with it, we battled hard and got into overtime. Unfortunately we didn’t come out on top, but they’ve got a good team over there and there’s a lot of positives we can take out of this.”
-The play of Flood, who had a goal and an assist while playing 19 minutes and 44 seconds while paired with Byfuglien;
-The work of Pavelec, who was spectacular again in keeping the Jets close and then saving a point with some fantastic work late as he kicked out 25 of 28 shots;
-The continuing rapid growth in Bogosian’s game as he racked up a team-high 26 minutes and 25 seconds of ice time while blocking a shot and registering four hits;
-And the contributions from the grit guys like Slater, while the likes of Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler, try as they may, still struggle to score for the first time this season.
“There was no easy ice, there wasn’t a lot of space and it was a tight-checking game,” said head coach Claude Noel, “It’s hard to manufacture any offence for two periods, but I thought we battled in the third and got a couple of goals and got a big point. But we gave them some opportunities and they took advantage of it… even the overtime, we just finished killing off a 4-on-3, we made a blunder and they put it in the net.
“We knew it was going to be tough. We knew we had to get pucks to the net because there was going to be no easy way for us to get this thing done. For us it was going to be a greasy game, which it was.”
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