After the first two games of the 2013 NHL season, one couldn’t be surprised if they heard exasperated Winnipeg Jets fans proclaim “same thing as last year”.
As of the end of Monday afternoon last week, the Jets sat 0-1-1 following two losses (one coming after regulation). Sure, there was some promise on display during the games, but the Jets had fallen short.
Fortunes, however, can change in an instant, even in an abbreviated NHL season.
The new winning streak by the Jets, which sits at 3 games, started with a victory over the all-the-sudden lowly Washington Capitals by a score of 4-2. The Caps, who have been the NHL’s biggest disappointment this season, were easily handled by a Jets team who finally got scoring from the men expected to lead the team like Evander Kane.
The dramatics, however, truly came on Friday when the Jets played host to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was Crosby’s first time in the MTS Centre since playing a series of exhibition games leading up to the 2004/05 World Junior Hockey Championship. Crosby didn’t disappoint his fans in Winnipeg, tallying twice early to put the Penguins up 2-0.
However, the Jets responded with an unheard of four unanswered goals to take the weekend opening contest 4-2, again led by Kane and the likes of Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler, along with Dustin Byfuglien who again is showing he has one of the most dangerous slappers from the blueline.
The crescendo for the Winnipeg Jets came Sunday evening against the New York Islanders. Led by another first overall draft pick, John Tavares (2009, Crosby was first in ’05 and Ovechkin in ’04), the Isles seemed to have the game in hand late in the third period after the teams first exchanged one-goal leads through two periods. With less than 10 minutes left in regulation, the Islanders were up 4-2.
Cue the second two-goal comeback in a row for Winnipeg.
With Dustin Byfuglien and Alexander Burmistrov potting the puck in a span of 1:05, the Jets poised themselves for overtime, where Evander Kane once again stepped up and potted the overtime winner. The 5-4 victory was not only important for the club in standings, but also for Al Montoyz, who made his Jets debut against his former squad.
As the Jets close the month of January, they do so with a still busy schedule.
Tonight, the action kicks off against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre before squaring off with the Florida Panthers on Thursday against the Florida Panthers. Of note, both games will be on TSN Jets and available to all Winnipeggers before the free-preview month ends.
The Jets will close out the week – and 3-game road swing – against the Tampa Bay Lightning.