Another solid outing on blue-line for Buff


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AS pinch-hitters go, Dustin Byfuglien has cranked a couple of homers straight into the upper deck.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/12/2014 (2980 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

AS pinch-hitters go, Dustin Byfuglien has cranked a couple of homers straight into the upper deck.

The Winnipeg Jets forward-defenceman played his second straight game along the blue-line in Sunday afternoon’s 4-3 OT loss to the Anaheim Ducks and, as was the case in Friday’s win over Colorado, was a dominant force.

Coming off a game in which he played a season-high 26 minutes and 24 seconds against the Avalanche, Byfuglien was on the ice for 28:08 against the Ducks and scored his fourth goal in as many games.

Both those ice-time totals are the most he’s played since last December.

“It’s a different look at the game,” said Byfuglien. “Forward to defence in the NHL is not an easy task to do right away, especially when you don’t have many practices under your belt. But I feel that I’ve handled it pretty well.

“I honestly haven’t looked at (ice time), but it is nice to be back there. Seeing the game from a different view now… I enjoy playing back there.”

Byfuglien crashed into the end boards with Ryan Kesler in the third period, but came back to finish the game after suffering what he called ‘just a little stinger.’

What he has done in two games since the announcement that Zach Bogosian, Toby Enstrom and Grant Clitsome would have extended stays on the injured list might give Jets management more hope they can tread water for awhile until they get healthy again on the blue-line.

What shouldn’t go unnoticed is the work of his defence partner, recent AHL call-up Ben Chiarot, who played another solid 20:39.

Byfuglien joked earlier in the week that the move back to defence would be like getting out of his ‘king-sized bed and putting on his slippers.’ Asked if he thought the two games on the blue-line would help him feel more comfortable, Byfuglien was succinct.

“No. I really don’t. You’ve just got to take the game the way it is in front of you. With our things the way we run them and the way other teams play, it’s a different thing every night. There’s something to learn every night out there and that’s what I enjoy.”

NOTABLE: Anaheim’s Rene Bourque opened the scoring Sunday, ending a steak of eight straight games in which they Jets had scored first… Ducks netminder Frederik Andersen started his 15th straight game… Evander Kane was given a five-minute checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for his hit on Clayton Stoner with 11 seconds left in the second period. The play will be reviewed by the NHL’s department of player safety. Said Jets coach Paul Maurice: “You see ’em, you don’t like them either way. The league will sort it out.”

VOICE FROM THE OTHER SIDE: “Our group has shown that all year. We’ve been able to play through things and just keep playing,” said Ducks centre Ryan Getzlaf. “Good or bad, the one thing we’ve done is play a lot of overtime games this year. You never want to let a team get back in the last few minutes like that. We’ve got to learn to close those out a little better.

“But just showing that resilience and getting the two points was big.”

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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