Not pretty but effective

Puck-battling style proves successful in recent games


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COLUMBUS — It’s ugly and greasy at times. And it’s hardly a testament to offensive wizardry.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/11/2014 (3039 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

COLUMBUS — It’s ugly and greasy at times. And it’s hardly a testament to offensive wizardry.

But the Winnipeg Jets have not only just embraced winning “ugly,” they’ve thrown their arms around the concept and hugged it with all their might.

“Our division is an ugly division. It’s a big, heavy division,” said winger Evander Kane, who had two goals to double his season output to four in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“There’s a lot of puck battles. We have embraced it. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing in the East or the West, we’ve got to play that way. It’s tough to play against, it’s frustrating to play against.”

The Jets benefitted from the Blue Jackets hitting three goal posts and whiffing on some glorious chances, but it was in tune with their defence-first blueprint that has led to some far superior defensive numbers than in years past.

The Jets scored early as Bryan Little beat Sergei Bobrovsky nine seconds into the game, built a 3-1 lead, got a little sloppy as the Blue Jackets close it to 3-2 and then got an empty netter from Kane to seal the deal.

“The tale of the game was the first 30 seconds, wasn’t it?” said coach Paul Maurice. “We run a faceoff play and go down and score. They run the exact same play on the drop of the puck, come down and miss the net. That’s pretty much the way that game went for us all night long.

“But, probably in our last four games our two best performances were losses (Detroit and St. Louis) and the two just slightly below that were wins (New Jersey and Columbus). That’s why you have to try and stay up, stay positive and keep coming back every night. It’s good to win a greasy one here tonight so that we can get a little bit of that positive feeling going back to back.

“All three of these games are a challenge for us: it’s three in four (nights) for us and they’ve been waiting. So they may not be picture perfect, but finding a way to win is just as important sometimes as being good.”

CROWDED SICK BAY: The Jets picked up the victory minus Toby Enstrom, who did not dress with a lower-body injury that Maurice described as day-to-day. Grant Clitsome was activated in his place and played 17:38 against his old club, registering a team-high five hits.

The Jets also lost Mathieu Perreault in the second period after a hit from Nick Foligno. He did not return to the game and is also listed as day-to-day.

This came on a day in which the Jets also placed T.J. Galiardi on waivers. He had zero points in 17 games and had been a healthy scratch for the last five. The move — coupled with the uncertainty with Enstrom — might be linked to a call-up from St. John’s.

“We knew on the back end we had to step up without Toby because he’s a big piece to our game,” said Jacob Trouba, who was solid in 24:11 of work. “We had a lot of guys do that tonight. He’s a guy that’s tough to replace in the lineup because he’s a pretty special player.”

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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