It was another big game...as they all are this time of the year. But this was one the Jets needed for their confidence before heading back on the road for another two games. They battled hard and found a way to take a clean two points from a hot Toronto Maple Leafs team, 2-1, tonight at the MTS Centre.
"Well, it wasn't a Picasso, but it was a win," said Coach Noel at the post-game press conference. "We managed to get the win and we're happy about that. Our power play struggled a little bit and I thought we played the game tired, after coming off the road trip. We did some good things and it was a good win for us."
"We had to get back going again, especially at home. A loss would not have been good for us right now."
Phil Kessel opened the scoring for the Leafs, picking up his 30th goal from a nice feed from Joffrey Lupul just over the 11-minute mark of the first period.
Chris Thorburn answered back for the Jets just three minutes later as he released a nice back-hander that made it through Jonas Gustavsson to tie the game.
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 17 of 18 shots thrown his way while Gustavsson turned aside 27 of 29.
The Jets head back on the road for a pair of games starting in Washington against the Capitals Thursday night. Puck drops at 6:00pm on TSN Jets.
Nik Antropov took the game's first penalty at 6:43 for cross-checking sending the Leafs to the first power play of the night. It wasn't until the penalty expired that Pavelec really started to be challenged, but, he looked focused out there as he put up the wall to shut them out.
Minutes later however at 11:06, Phil Kessel picked up his 30th goal of the season on a nice up-ice feed from Joffrey Lupul. Kessel, on a partial breakaway, made his way to the front of the net with only Toby Enstrom in his way. He wound up and took a shot that beat Pavelec clean- stick-side. 1-0 Leafs.
Chris Thorburn answered back getting the Jets on the board at 14:16 of the period. Zach Bogosian started the rush from behind the Jets net and raced through the neutral zone. He saw Thorburn charging up the left wing and found the lane. Thorburn, with a tight check right beside him, managed to get a backhand shot that slipped right under the arm of Jonas Gustavsson.
After 20 minutes, the Jets and Leafs were tied 1-1, and the Jets on top of the shot clock 9-6.
Leaf's goal scorer, Kessel, was the first Leaf to take a penalty in the game at the two minute mark. The Jets power play unit mustered up a few scoring chances but could not solve the penalty kill of this Leafs squad and the game remained tied.
Bryan Little gave the Jets their first lead of the game at 9:47 of the frame. Wheeler drove hard to the net and took a shot on Gustavsson who made the save but spit out a nice rebound. Little was right behind the play to finish things off and make it 2-1.
That's how the period would end, with the Jets leading 2-1 and 16-13 in shots on goal.
Two minutes into the third period, Johnny Oduya and Joey Crabb dropped the gloves to kick off the period with momentum. Oduya ended up on top in a quick duel with the Leaf before exiting stage left for five minutes.
The Jets had a few quality chances in the early goings of the final period but were not able to convert on any of them. Gustavsson did a great job of holding pucks in like a sponge, not allowing many juicy rebounds.
All they had to do was hold on...and that they did. The Jets held on to earn themselves a 2-1 victory over the Leafs. After 60 minutes of play, the shots were 29-18 in favour of the Jets.
1 - 0 TOR
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 WPG