Winnipeg Jets 2 Tampa Bay Lightning 1 – There were a lot of questions going into the game about how the Jets would respond after the poor outing Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.
Win or lose, coach Claude Noel wanted a much better effort from his team, and to play the right way. The players also talked about needing a better effort.
The loss Tuesday did not sit well, so yes, a much happier group after the game than what we saw at the morning skate. Sports is all about results, and the Jets have the opportunity for a little payback Friday night as they once again play the Panthers. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290)
In Tampa, Al Montoya got the call in net and was terrific. He is now 3-0 on the season, stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced. Eric Tangradi with his first goal as a Jet and second of his career opened the scoring as for the first time in three games the Jets scored first. It was also the eighth time in 10 games they scored first. The Lightning had 24 first period goals on the season but the first ended 1-0.
No scoring in the second, despite both teams having a five-on-three power play, Tampa for a full two minutes, the Jets for 1:10. Jets' Paul Postma and Mark Stuart went off together and the Lightning created some chances but could not beat Montoya. Andrew Ladd had the best chance on the Jets' five on three as he rang one off the inside of the post. Jets are now 16 for 16 on the penalty kill in the last six games and are perfect in eight of the last nine games.
The NHL's top goal scorer, Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, tied the game at 6:57 of the third but the Jets continued to get pucks in deep and create turnovers and at 15:52 were rewarded as Bryan Little scored the winner, his fourth goal of the year, for a 2-1 final.
Evander Kane had a season high nine shots on goal, Little won 11 of 16 face-offs, Zach Bogosian lead the Jets in ice time at 26:34, Stuart had four blocked shots. Those were some of the games key stats. Chris Thorburn and Derek Meech were the healthy scratches.
From Coach Noel, "we were strong. Our goalie was strong, for a goalie that had not started since February 10th. He looked confident, could see the puck. Our hats go off to him. Our penalty kill was good and killing the five on three was key. We were good right from the onset. We had a good effort from a lot of people. Now we go back to Florida and have to put our best foot forward. We do not want a repeat performance."