Maybe it’s an unwavering belief in the system and a monk-like dedication to defence. And, sure, it could be partly smoke and mirrors, mixed with healthy doses of pixie dust.

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This article was published 19/12/2014 (2592 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Maybe it’s an unwavering belief in the system and a monk-like dedication to defence. And, sure, it could be partly smoke and mirrors, mixed with healthy doses of pixie dust.

But if anyone is looking for concrete evidence as to how the Winnipeg Jets keep winning when their defensive corps keeps getting decimated by injury — their top four now watching from sick bay — they need look no further than the two men working the blue paint: goaltenders Michael Hutchinson and Ondrej Pavelec.

Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault (85) attempts the backhander against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) during first period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday.

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Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault (85) attempts the backhander against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) during first period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday.

The latest masterpiece came Friday night at the MTS Centre when Hutchinson, playing his third consecutive game against the club that drafted him, kicked out 30 of 31 shots en route to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins before 15,016 absolutely delirious fans.

"At the end of the day — and you can pick the right word — everything runs downhill," said Jets coach Paul Maurice with a grin. "And it’s coming to Pav and Hutch. I mean, it’s not on them to win us games, but there are going to be points, and there’s points in every game they’ve played this year, where they would have to be the difference. That’s true of any goaltender.

"We’re going to spend more time in our end, which means they’re going to see a little bit more action than they have. He’s the reason we win games. And we’re going to be saying that for a while."

Two numbers to consider in the wake of the Jets’ second consecutive win, a result that pushes their overall record to 17-10-6:

❚ Winnipeg is now 7-1-3 since Toby Enstrom, then Zach Bogosian, followed by Jacob Trouba and Mark Stuart were felled by injury.

❚ Hutchinson is now 2-0-1 against the Bruins — the team that selected him in the third round of the 2008 draft — with a save percentage of .961.

 

HUTCH IS CLUTCH

Hutchinson’s up-to-the minute totals continue to lead the NHL — a .940 save percentage and 1.73 goals-against average. Friday’s work came primarily in the final 40 minutes as the Jets, after outshooting the Bruins 16-4 in the opening period, were bombarded 27-11 in the second and third.

"It’s always difficult when you’re not seeing as many shots," said Hutchinson. "But like I said before, you kind of get your energy from watching the guys work so hard in the other zone and really take it to them in the first period."

 

"It’s easy to stay in the game when you’re just enjoying it and watching your team battle in their zone.

"It’s always fun when you play against your former organization. It gives you more motivation to bear down and make saves... especially when you know guys on the other team and really don’t want them to score. That makes it fun."

 

TWO STREAKS AND MORE BUFF

The Jets got goals from Evander Kane — his second in as many games — and Mathieu Perreault, extending his point streak (2G, 4A) to six games. But it was the continuing work of Dustin Byfuglien that, aside from Hutchinson’s effort in the net, that really jumped off the page. Byfuglien was on the ice for 27 minutes and four seconds and drew an assist on the game-winning goal, which had originally been credited to him before being given to Perreault.

"You can tell he’s excited about playing D, he’s playing great back there," said Blake Wheeler. "It’s his ability to read plays. He’s almost like a free safety back there. He steps up and picks off a ton of pucks for us and creates a ton of turnovers. But the most impressive thing for me is how hard he’s playing defensively. "He’s a big dude and when he gets his stick and body into guys, they’re not going anywhere. He’s maybe been our most important player in the last stretch here with all the injuries we’ve had. He’s stepped up and been awesome."

 

BIG DEBUT

New Jets defenceman Jay Harrison got off the plane from North Carolina this afternoon, did the medical thing, checked into the hotel and was back at the rink by 4:30 p.m. to greet his new teammates.

To top it off, he picked up an assist on the Jets’ first goal, on his first shift in double blue.

"It was a lot to logistically handle in the past 12 hours," said Harrison. "But the adrenaline of the game, the crowd and when the Canadian anthem comes on... it’s impossible, if you have a pulse, that’s going to get it going even faster. This is what we do. It goes with the territory and it’s part of being a pro."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait