The Jets turned the pressure on Monday at the MTS and shook the Detroit Red Wings all night long to a 4-2 win.
The pressure was there from the opening face-off, when Detroit’s Jordan Tootoo and the Jets’ Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves and each went off with five for fighting after only 15 seconds of play. You could tell Tootoo was fired up from the second he got on the ice during warm up, playing as close as it comes to a hometown crowd for this ex-Wheat King and northern boy. There were many Red Wings jerseys in the mix, and more than a few of them bearing Tootoo’s 22.
It sounds like Tootoo is in the #redwings lineup tonight. Whether it was his turn or not, good move. Many Nunavummiut in WPG to see him.
— ᔫ ᔅᑐᕖᕐ (Joe Stover) (@joechurchill) November 4, 2013
Even though the Jets were missing one of their main firecrackers, as Evander Kane was out with a lower body injury, the boys managed to keep that pressure going for the bulk of 60 minutes, with Al Montoya between the posts. A notable lag occurred about midway through the first, with whistles slowing the play left and right. Bryan Little pulled out a breakaway with one minute left in the first and finally stuffed it past Howard, whose glove hand snatched more than a few beauties from lighting the MTS the fuck up throughout the evening. The Jets went off after the first up 1-0.
But the Jets didn’t really bring it after the break, with their most dangerous lag in momentum through the first half of the second period, when the Wings tied it up with a boner by Clitsome, as Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg deflected a shot off his skate and straight past Montoya.
Clitsome with the goal!! Wrong net though. #nhljets — rockem_sockem (@prj247) November 5, 2013
The Red Wings went up on a score of 2-1 short fucking handed at the midway through period, with Danny DeKeseyler riffling one past Monty off a face-off in the Jets end. I was updating the peeps out in Twitter land of the previous play and missed the fucker myself it was so quick! Had to wait for the (painful) replay to see what had just happened. This was followed quickly by the puck again beating Montoya, but the goal was waved off as the net was clearly knocked off before the puck crossed the line. Close call.
At this point, Big Buff — who’d taken a few tumbles of his own throughout the game — started losing his shit on the bench. Good form or no, Buffy’s display clearly rattled the cage and got the Jets fired up. With 2:56 left in the second, a solid hustle up the ice from Scheifele leads to a beauty goal by Frolik to tie the game up at two a piece, with Jets leading the shots 31 – 19.
Scheifele showed patience and then rifled pass through Kyle Quincey’s skates, Frolik wired home shot for his third goal of year #NHLJets — Ken Wiebe (@WiebeSunSports) November 5, 2013
If Howard wasn’t red fucking hot, the score would have been handily in the Jets favour at this point.
Heading into the third, the crowd was finally getting riled up, taunting Howard consistently with cat calls of “HOW-AAAARD!” Between periods, the smoke pit was brimming with optimism. “The boys are gonna fuckin’ do it,” one Jets 1.0 jersey wearing dude was telling all his pals. And fuckin’ do it they did.
The boys in blue were able to keep the pressure up. Consistent hustle from the Scheifele line led to the go-ahead goal by Halischuk, his first of the season, with an assist from Frolik less than five minutes into the third. The Jets were able to keep their 3-2 lead, despite Andrew Ladd taking a dumb penalty immediately after drawing one from Detroit. Back on the ice after two minutes in the Sin Bin, the Jets captain redeemed himself by hammering home the game securing goal on the backhand from Setoguchi and Little with nine minutes on the clock. By the time the final minute of play was announced, the MTS Centre was losing its collective shit, and the Jets had finally snapped their losing streak, albeit over the backs of a seriously road weary Red Wings.
There was a lot of talk in the dressing room scrum after about “patience,” “consistency,” and “confidence.” Coach Claude Noel — whose canning many arm-chair pundits have been calling for of late — echoed those sentiments when he spoke with the media after the big win.
“We will build on the positives,” said Noel. “I thought our guys played good, played with confidence.”
A number of the questions thrown at Noel, and the players before him, had to do with Montoya’s performance between the posts, echoing what many fans have been saying leading up to last night’s game…
Judging from general thrust of post-game questions, Winnipeg media behemoth is definitely writing the foreword for Start Montoya: The Novel
— Melissa Martin (@DoubleEmMartin) November 5, 2013
While Montoya did make some monster saves, and seems to have a take-no-shit attitude on the ice that both the players and the fans appreciate, he did give up a number of disconcerting rebounds throughout the game. Combined with the fact that the Jets played a more aggressive, offensive game than fans have grown accustomed to — and against a team that was playing its fourth game on the road in six nights — we’ll have to see how this novel plays out. Having said that — and I think there’s a consensus here — I’d be surprised if Pavelec starts Wednesday’s game in Chicago.
The Jets are still only 6-8-2. The team has got to start making the most out of power play situations, and playing every game with the confidence and consistency they showed last night.
But with Scheifele playing up to his potential, Montoya living large between the pipes, and the team in general fired up after a big home win, there’s plenty of momentum moving into the next game. For the faithful, there is a light that never goes out. A wise man once said, “It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll.” Last night’s cracking of the red-hot Rock City Red Wings might just be the start. Game on!
Sheldon Birnie is the editor of Stylus Magazine, & writes for the Sports Desk at the Spectator Tribune. He is a third line grinder for the Dakota Div 5 Lumbercats. Follow him @badguybirnie.