Being Halloween, the Winnipeg Jets made their fans sit through a bit of a scare, giving up a 2-0 first period lead, forcing themselves to tie it up with 49.9 seconds to go and wait all the way to a shootout before earning two points against the Florida Panthers.
-Jets/Panthers on Monday night means football, right?
-What a pretty goal by Kyle Wellwood to undress Jose Theodore on the shootout winner. He came in with both speed and lateral movement and had the 2002 MVP completely out of the net before tucking the puck in for the winner. Good composure from Wellwood who scored the new-NHL hat-trick: A goal, an assist, and the shootout winner. You could call that a Pavel Datsyuk.
-The call on Blake Wheeler that led to the go-ahead goal was an a real tough one on Winnipeg, but what are Mark Stuart and Jim Slater doing letting Tomas Fleishmann walk right between them to put himself in a scoring position to score that goal? The Jets have only scored four third period goals this season, and when you think of the leads that they’ve given up, they’re a team that shuts right off when they’re ahead by two goals. I’m not sure if that’s on Claude Noel, the players, or a combination of both, and while all NHL teams should expect to give up a few more shots when up a pair, the effect seems to sting Winnipeg a little bit more, given the trouble they’ve had with the lead.
-Luckily, Winnipeg got that right back thanks to a bit of luck from the NHL war-room. I thought that Evander Kane’s stick looked level with the crossbar on TV, and taking into account the camera being a little bit higher than the crossbar, it should have by rights been a centimeter or two over. The puck also made contact with Kyle Wellwood’s stick, so, on my scorer’s box at home, that’s a mid-air assist to Wellwood, Jose Theodore, and Marcel Goc, who deflected the initial shot from Zach Bogosian. The NHL war-room suggested that the call on the ice was a goal.
-Ondrej Pavelec was absolutely electric in this one. He made 39 saves on 42 shots and held the Jets in the game when they failed to create any offense after creating the two-goal lead. The defense had some rough rebound control, particularly on penalty kills, and Pavelec had to make 9 PK saves just to get this game into overtime. I was a little worried at the start of overtime that he might not get the quality start (.913 save percentage or two or fewer goals) if Florida scored a quick one. That glove stop on Kris Versteeg in the shootout was very good as well, and he stuck with Mike Santorelli to force him to miss the shot which set Wellwood up for the winner. Clear first star.
-In exchange to a Jack Skille hit on Tobias Enstrom late in the second period, the Jets took nine minutes in penalties in retaliation, including a fight by Andrew Ladd which took him off the ice prior to a Tomas Fleishmann goal. Prior to that point, Fleishmann’s line had been matched up against Ladd and Ladd had held his opponents to just four shots on goal. The other four minutes came as part of a very dangerous Panthers powerplay. I guess Tobias Enstrom appreciates the gesture to have his teammates come to his defense, but I’m sure he’d rather the team try to win. Fighting and retribution doesn’t help that cause. Ladd made up for it for a pretty goal in the shootout.
-At one point in the game, Brian Engblom noted that Alexander Burmistrov wasn’t as good in this one as he has been. At that point I refreshed the timeonice script, and Burmistrov was leading the Jets in Corsi at +1, and was the only one in the positives. Dennis Beyek was asking Engblom if this had anything to do with the fact that teams are gameplanning for Burmistrov now, but there wasn’t anything special about the way Florida was playing him. He saw pretty well equal time against Mike Weaver and Jason Garrison as he did against Dmitry Kulikov and Brian Campbell. I’m not particularly sold on Engblom’s theory.