Amazing Buff brings win

Big D-man’s solo act lifts Jets’ record to 4-1


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We've always known Dustin Byfuglien was a take-charge guy.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/10/2015 (2610 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

We’ve always known Dustin Byfuglien was a take-charge guy.

The big defenceman lived up to the reputation Friday night at the MTS Centre, grabbing a Calgary turnover at his own blue-line and dashing down the left wing to score the winner with 1:28 left in regulation to power the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 victory over the Flames.

“That’s taking the bull by the horns,” said Jets centre Mark Scheifele, who nearly got in the Byfuglien’s way as he started his late foray up the ice. “Pretty awesome, for sure.

“No, he didn’t say anything. But I was about to steal the puck from him and then I saw he had a pretty good head of steam. So I got out of the way and he tried to drive the net. A pretty good shot by him.”

The victory in the home opener was the Jets’ fourth of the season against just one loss. Calgary fell to 1-3.

Byfuglien took advantage of an indecisive move by Flames goalie Karri Ramo on the winner. Ramo seemed to be hedging his bets on what Byfuglien would do and got caught not firm against the post as Byfuglien’s sharp-angle shot slipped past him.

“I got the puck at our blue-line and kept it out of our zone,” Byfuglien said. “I just went down the wall and tried something I don’t do very often (put it through his own legs to try to slip by the defender) and it happened to work.

“It was just kind of the way he (Ramo) was sitting, I was kind of shooting it more on the net and it just kind of went in.”


Big man, big speed

There is always amazement when Byfuglien does impactful things on the ice. It was his 135th career NHL goal.

“It’s so unusual for a man that big to do some of the things he can do and at high rates of speed,” said his coach, Paul Maurice. “I thought the second half of that game, that was him, really good all over the ice and making plays. He helped us get our offensive game going.”


Game of quickness

The Flames brought their usual quick style from the drop of the puck and struck first, with Mikael Backlund chipping home Sam Bennett’s wraparound play at 3:38, helping to tone down the raucous MTS Centre crowd of 15,294 after the opening introductions and the usual anthem mayhem.

It took the Jets a while to get up to that speed.

“It seemed to be (quick),” Maurice said. “It’s sometimes hard to get a feel for that, but it was up and down the ice and there was still… it did get loose in the second for both teams. There were more odd-man rushes. But it wasn’t from a casualness in the game.

“They worked hard, too, and blocked an awful lot of shots. The first period for us, we kind of got behind a little bit with our offensive game, trying to slow the game down. We got out of that mindset early in the second and we were pretty good after that.”


Challenge tactic

Flames coach Bob Hartley used his coach’s challenge on Byfuglien’s winner, claiming it was off-side.

But surely what Hartley was really doing was stalling the game to get more than a 30-second timeout.

“The timeout at that point, the review’s going to take a lot longer than the timeout, so anything after a minute (to go) the league’s going to review. So, that in my mind, was as much trying to extend as long as they can,” Maurice said. “Which was good for us, too.”


Staying home

The homestand continues Sunday with the Jets’ first Central Division game of the season, an afternoon affair against the St. Louis Blues.

It’s a six-game homestand, the team’s longest of the season.

In 2014-15, Winnipeg was 16-8-5 within the Central.


Updated on Friday, October 16, 2015 7:58 PM CDT: Adds first period information, updates headline.

Updated on Friday, October 16, 2015 8:55 PM CDT: Updates with second period information.

Updated on Friday, October 16, 2015 9:49 PM CDT: Adds third period update.

Updated on Friday, October 16, 2015 11:03 PM CDT: Writethru, adds slideshow.

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