Winnipeg—In the grand scheme of eighty two NHL regular season games, there will undoubtedly be nights where you deserve a better result than the actual outcome of the contest. On Monday night at MTS Centre, in what was for the most part a somewhat dull game, the Winnipeg Jets deserved better than to be at the losing end of a 2-1 defeat.
While the result was obviously not what was desired by head coach Claude Noel, there were certainly many positives to take from the game. The team has seemed to develop an identity, and has replaced the fire wagon brand of hockey they began the season playing, with a more structured, disciplined style that will suit them well. What cost them on Monday night however, was their current lack of top flight NHL goal scorers. Undoubtedly Alex Burmistrov is well on his way to becoming that player, but tonight they weren’t quite there yet, while the Rangers, despite having the play taken to them for the bulk of the contest, capitalized on the few chances they had.
The first period, which was rather dull, was played like two prize fighters feeling one another out, with the “highlight” of the period being a fight between the Jets Tanner Glass and the Rangers Brandon Prust. The first period was the first time all season at the MTS Centre that the fans could not be described as rabid, rather they appeared to be settling into a routine of watching NHL hockey, and acting appropriately at the ebbs and flows, energy wise, of the game.
The Rangers opened the scoring at the 5:51 mark of the 2nd period, on a powerplay goal by cagey veteran Ruslan Fedotenko, who found himself alone in the slot and tipped a nifty slap pass from Dan Girardi past Jets goaltender Chris Mason. Mason certainly acquitted himself very well on this night, making some nice saves, and providing Claude Noel with the comfort that the veteran net minder appears to have bounced back from the sub-par season he had in Atlanta last year.
The Jets equalized less than ten minutes later on a wrist shot by Nikolai Antropov, zipping it over the glove hand of Rangers goalie Martin Biron. That was the only goal the Jets would get past Biron, as his tremendous goaltending was the reason why the Rangers had a chance to take the two-one lead which they would do in the third period.
The Rangers second goal, and the subsequent game winner came half way through the third period on a powerplay. Ryan Callahan was driving down the wing, and his pass in front of the net caromed off the skate of Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian, passed a helpless Chris Mason. Prior to this goal, the Jets had controlled the play in the third period, including keeping the puck deep in the Rangers zone for a solid 90 seconds despite both teams being at even strength. The game of hockey is a funny one, as immediately after the Rangers finally cleared the zone, the Jets Chris Thorburn was called for a tripping penalty, after (I believe) Fedotenko was streaking in on the left side of Chris Mason, with a potential angle at getting in for a quality scoring chance. Marty Biron made the saves, and withstood the Jets pressure, and the offense answered with the game winning goal.
The Rangers goal seemed to take the wind out of the Jets sails (or wings as the case may be), as the rest of the game found Jets passes ending up in skates instead of on blades, and despite pulling the goalie with ninety seconds to go, they were unable to muster any real quality scoring chances in an attempt to tie up the contest. When the final horn sounded, the Jets were defeated 2-1 by the Rangers, despite out shooting them 28-17, and out chancing them throughout the course of events on Monday night at the MTS Centre. It must be said however, that the Rangers were only penalized one time throughout this game, as compared to the Jets five penalties, and for a team to only be penalized once in the “new NHL” left many in the arena grumbling about the performance of the men in the striped shirts. Nonetheless, the Rangers, and their superior goal scorers, were just the smallest bit of the difference on this night.
- Martin Biron
- Ruslan Fedotenko
- Nik Antropov
Next game: Winnipeg at Philadelphia, 6:30 PM (CT), Thursday October 27, 2011
Broadcast: TSN Jets/TSN Radio 1290