Jets challenge Hurricanes in Southeast clash
JETS (8-9-4) at HURRICANES (8-11-4)
TV: TSN-JETS, FS-CR (HD)
Winnipeg 4-3-3; Carolina 3-6-1
This is the second of six meetings between the Southeast Division clubs this season. The Jets beat Carolina in Winnipeg, 5-3, on Oct. 22. They scored three goals in the first 7:30 of the second period to take control of the game.
Both teams are showing signs of moving in a positive direction. The Jets are 3-0-1 in their last four games while the Hurricanes are 2-0-1 in their last three after losing seven of their previous eight games. However, both teams are also coming off Wednesday losses, with the Jets falling in overtime at Washington and the Hurricanes dropping a 4-3 decision in a shootout at home against Montreal.
Claude Noel didn't like the result Wednesday night because he'd have much rather left Washington with two points rather than one. However, the Jets coach was particularly pleased to see the fight his team showed against the Capitals. It's a fight the Jets have been showing for nearly two weeks, since they started this stretch of four straight games without a regulation loss with a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay on Nov. 14.
Winnipeg fought back to tie the game at Verizon Center on three separate occasions, including twice in the first period. Washington eventually got the winner in overtime from Jason Chimera, but the Jets got a road point, something that hasn't come easy to them so far this season as they are now 3-6-4 away from MTS Centre.
"I think it's good for us because it shows us we're never out of it and that our will to win is paramount over what's taking place in the game," Noel told the Winnipeg Free Press. "What I liked is that we battled back a few times."
The story is somewhat similar in Raleigh, where the Hurricanes are attempting to save their season and perhaps coach Paul Maurice's job. The only difference is that instead of showing fight in Wednesday's game, the Hurricanes took their foot off the pedal and gave away an early 2-0 lead only to fall in a shootout.
Shortly after Michael Cammalleri tied the game for Montreal early in the third period, Brandon Sutter scored his first goal in eight games to give the Hurricanes the lead. However, just 1:21 later, Canadiens forward Travis Moen scored to make it 3-3. It stayed that way until the Canadiens got the better of Cam Ward in the shootout.
Carolina picked up a point for the third straight game, equaling its longest streak of the season. However, it wasn't exactly in the fashion that Maurice or the rest of the team would have liked considering they had set themselves up for a third straight win with a strong first period.
"We've got to learn to make these types of games 3-0 or 4-0," forward Anthony Stewart said. "There was almost a sense of panic when that first one went in, and that's going back to a month ago when nothing was going well."
Jets center Kyle Wellwood
now leads the team in scoring with 17 points thanks to three straight multi-point games and a four-game scoring streak (2-5-7). ... Hurricanes winger Jiri Tlusty snapped a 10-game streak without a point by getting a goal and an assist Wednesday against Montreal. Sutter snapped his seven-game pointless streak with a goal and an assist in the same game.
Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen has missed seven straight games with a lower-body injury. ... The Jets' blue line is in disarray with injuries to Tobias Enstrom
(broken collarbone), Derek Meech
(knee), Randy Jones
(foot) and Bret Festerling (upper-body).
Winnipeg's 5-3 win over Carolina last month was the first time the Thrashers/Jets franchise had beaten the Canes in regulation since March 27, 2010. Carolina went 6-0-1 in the seven games in between.
"I think the character of our team is showing that they want to win the game," Noel said following the overtime loss to Washington.