Winnipeg—With the noise reverberating off the walls of MTS Centre like a jet plane flying overhead, the Winnipeg Jets finally gave their fans what they have been clamouring for—a win. Playing by far their best game of the season thus far, the Jets came out at the start with more energy than had been seen in the first three losses. Led by the tantalizing Alex Burmistrov, the Jets couldn’t have asked for a better start, scoring a mere eight seconds into the game, after a nifty passing play deep in the Penguins end. Kyle Welwood registered his second of the season with assists to Burmistrov and to Nik Antropov.
Throughout the game, Alex Burmistrov showed the skills that made him the eighth overall pick of the 2010 entry draft. With comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk being bandied about in the press box, Burmistrov controlled the play of the game with his sleight of hand talents. He set up the Jets second goal of the first period, coming on a one timer by Tanner Glass with barely over 90 seconds to go in the first period. A better first period the Jets could not have asked for.
Even though the Penguins were not fielding their typical line-up, they still had plenty of talent dotting their roster, and with a head coach the caliber of Dan Bylsma, you knew they would not go away quietly. They largely controlled the second period, and despite scoring with eighty seconds to go in the frame, the Jets can thank Ondrej Pavelec and the goal posts behind him, for it being a one goal Jets lead into the third period.
At the beginning of the season, the one area most pundits thought the Jets were in solid shape in was goal, and after a couple of rough outings to begin the season, Pavelec showed why that was the prevailing opinion, making many difficult saves, and generally showing off why he is thought of as one of the up and coming netminders in the NHL. If it was not for his performance tonight, the Jets would have been hard pressed to come away with the victory. A very deserving first star, he was.
The third period began the same way much of the game was played, energetic, end to end, and with appropriate levels of determination and grit. A number of tussles unfolded, including one that cost the Jets their best faceoff man in Jim Slater for the final 5 minutes of the game, but despite his loss, and a late game penalty to Chris Thorburn, the Jets, backed by Ondrej Pavelec and Alexander Burmistrov, prevailed with their first victory in their new home in Winnipeg. With ears popping due to the deafening noise, the Jets fans saluted their victorious home squad, and let them know how much they appreciated their effort.
Despite being without Crosby and Malkin, Orpik and Kennedy, the Penguins, on paper, were the more talented of the two squads. The Jets played a smart, tough, and determined game; the type of game they will need to play on most nights to be victorious. They will need goaltending the likes of which Ondrej Pavelec provided tonight, and when on home ice, they will need the home ice advantage provided by the over 15000 who populated the stands of the MTS Centre tonight.
- Ondrej Pavelec
- Marc Andre Fleury
- Alex Burmistrov
Next game: Winnipeg at Toronto, 6:00 PM, Wednesday October 19, 2011
Broadcast: TSN/TSN Radio 1290