A three-game winning streak was on the line for both the Winnipeg Jets and the Montreal Canadiens tonight but it was the Red and White home team that took the two points to extend their streak and snap the streak of the Jets as they walked with a 4-3 final at the Bell Centre tonight. It was an end-to-end battle full of power plays, 15 to be exact.
"They came at us pretty hard out of the gates and took us a little bit," said Andrew Ladd post-game. "But we got back to playing the way we needed to, tied it up and got ahead. At the end of the day I think we just lost the special teams battle and came down to them."
The Canadiens went up 2-0 in the first period but Wheeler would answer back late to pull within one. Nik Antropov and Olli Jokinen each scored their first of the season to give the Jets their first lead of the night but Erik Cole would tie things up late in the second heading to the third.
"Second period I thought we did a great job of getting back into the game and putting pucks into good areas and battling for them got our skating legs going," said Ladd. "That's the way we need to play, especially on the road. We'll look at the tape and see some of the positives that we did and then we'll get better in some other areas."
Tomas Plekanec added another power play goal just over five minutes into the final period and the Jets just couldn't pull off another come-back and fell to a 4-3 Final.
"Obviously the power play in the third hurt us," said Ron Hainsey. "Get pucks to the net, that's what we do. They did it and got a break there. Probably a few too many penalties for us, we've done a great job up until this point not taking penalties. They took some too and they were able to kill them off, give them credit, they made it difficult."
Not much to talk about through the first eight minutes of play in the first period until Paul Postma took the game's first penalty at 7:48 putting the Habs on the power play. Andrei Markov made a nice feed over to Rene Bourque on the point who slapped a one-timer through traffic that went up and over the shoulder of Pavelec. 1-0 Habs.
Brendan Gallagher made it 2-0 Canadiens after a Jets turnover in the neutral zone. He got to the top of the circle and made nice shot that just beat Pavelec glove side.
With 3:50 remaining in the period, the Jets power play was put to the test after Markov head off for hooking. Jokinen made a nice, patient play to get the puck over to Wheeler at the top of the circle. He then released a hard shot that found it's way through traffic and past Price. Kane was at the backdoor swinging at the puck to make sure it went across the line but didn't touch it before it went in. 2-1 Habs.
Shots after twenty minutes, 6-6. The Jets were 73% in the face-off circle (16-6), but were being out-hit 12-3.
The Jets went back on the power play after Lars Eller went off for holding on Andrew Ladd. The Jets power play unit went to work and yet again were rewarded. The play started with Ron Hainsey getting the puck to over to Antropov, who sent a nice pass to Little in the slot. Little fired on net that was turned away by Price. The rebound shot out right onto Antropov's stick who made no mistake putting the rebound into the back of the net. 2-2.
Olli Jokinen finally picked up his first of the season and first as a Jet and gave his team their first lead of the game at 11:48, just after a power play had expired. Kane made a nice pass cross-ice over to Jokinen streaking across the blue line. He was mid-stride when he made a nice sweeping wrist shot that flew top shelf over Price knocking his water bottle into the air. 3-2 Jets.
Minutes later, Erik Cole tied the game for the Habs, again, just seconds after their power play expired. After Pavelec turned three or four shots aside, traffic continued to piled up and the Jets couldn't clear the puck. A mad scramble formed in the crease and eventually Cole found the back of the net for his first of the season. 3-3.
After 40 minutes, the Jets and Habs tied 3-3. Shots were 17-10 Montreal.
The period started with an early power play chance for the Jets with Colby Armstrong in the box for elbowing on Kane. They had a couple of great chances on the advantage but they couldn't break the tie.
Instead, Enstrom got caught minutes later for tripping and Montreal made them pay. Plekanec blasted a hard shot from the top of the circle that hit Hainsey's skate in the crease and flipped into the net. Bad break for the Jets, 4-3 Montreal 5:31 into the final frame.
As time ticked on in the period, the pace and intensity rose significantly. It was end to end action and penalty after penalty for both sides but the score remained the same and the Jets could not find a way to get another one past Price.
The Habs got one more late chance of their own when Enstrom headed back to the box for high-sticking. The Jets tried everything they could to find a short handed goal but it just wasn't in the cards tonight and time expired with the Habs on top 4-3.
Final shots were 26-21 Montreal.