First win! First win! The Jets are back! The Jets are back!
It was a game I don’t think many people in the hockey world expected Winnipeg to win, but they struck with two first period goals and held on for a thrilling 2-1 win over Marc-André Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins in what was a terrific hockey game with some good chances at both ends.
-Alexander Burmistrov was by far the best player on the ice Monday night. Claude Noel had him out for the last shift, and he nearly sealed it after creating a late shorthanded breakaway. When the dust settled, he managed a +8 Corsi rating and a +9 Fenwick, being the highest forward in the game. In the first period he looked like a hog on the puck, refusing to give up any control. Despite the arena hosts giving it to Pavelec, I thought that Burmistrov deserved the first star on the night.
-The second best player on the ice was Ondrej Pavelec, who finally gave the Jets a quality start, and it was a very impressive one beyond that. Pavelec stopped 28 shots; 25 of them at even strength, and the only blemish on his record came when Matt Cooke crashed into him when he was setting up for Zbynek Michalek’s shot. Still, instead of pulling a Dwayne Roloson or Nikolai Khabibulin and yelling at anybody he would listen, Pavelec recovered and made some big saves down the stretch.
-That said, Pavelec got some help from Lady Luck. James Neal had a wonderful chance in the first that caught the post, and there was a vicious scramble midway through the second period where Neal, Richard Park and Steve Sullivan couldn’t seem to bury. It was one of those games where no matter if Pavelec misplayed a puck, it wasn’t going to go in.
-JetsNation’s Robert Cleave made a point via Twitter after the game about Mark Scheifele, who saw a total of one shift in the third period with 17 minutes to go. Scheifele and his linemates Tim Stapleton and Brett MacLean were the only minus forwards on the Jets against Pittsburgh, so this may have been a decision made by Claude Noel. Scheifele had a glorious chance, tipping a Blake Wheeler shot, in his second-to-last shift towards the end of the second period.
-Dustin Byfuglien looked to be on the right end of a few chances tonight, and he was certainly shooting in volume. He took 11 shot attempts—5 on net, 2 blocked, and 4 missed, which was the most on either team. That’s promising, since he’s the catalyst who can get the Jets powerplay going again. For the first time, the Jets finally outshot their opponents with the extra man, but still couldn’t get that powerplay goal.
-On starts, while it was a bonus to get the Kyle Wellwood marker just eight seconds into the game, the camera didn’t shift from panning at the Penguins end until about eight minutes through the period. Marc-André Fleury did very well for himself at the start of the game, as the Jets had 14 of the first 15 shot attempts of the game before the Blake Wheeler penalty evened out the flow of play. That was definitely the best stretch we’ve seen out of this team so far.