A high flying start followed by a turbulent finish. The Winnipeg Jets strong start to March found them in first place of the Southeast Division. However, the tail end of March proved to be a different story as they closed off the month with a 2-4 record and will now try to fend off the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals for the division title.
Coming of a win against the Boston Bruins, the Jets looked to continue their winning ways as they hosted the Washington Capitals in back to back home games. However, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby had other plans. Holtby had previously shutout the Jets 3-0 on March 2 and picked up where he left off stopping the 20 shots he faced en route to a 4-0 win. Riding a hot goalie, the Capitals grounded the Jets the following night 6-1 led by Alexander Ovechkin’s two goal performance.
Back on Track
The Jets would get back in the win column as they took on two Southeast division foes. The Jets used a three point night from forward Bryan Little to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Ondrej Pavelec was brilliant stopping 23 saves and coach Claude Noel was quick to praise his netminder.
“[Pavelec] has been arguably our best player pretty much for a long stretch of time. I’m just thankful that he’s in the net, let’s put it that way,” Noel said. “I thought he did his part and more and that’s what he has been doing.”
In a key division battle, the Jets downgraded the Hurricanes with a 4-1 win. Evander Kane provided the firepower registering a goal and three assists. The win gave the Jets some breathing room in the division race over the Hurricanes.
A Southeast Storm Coming
The Winnipeg Jets found themselves on the Pittsburgh Penguins hit list. The Penguins, riding a 13 game winning streak, easily took care of the Jets winning 4-0. Pascal Dupuis scored twice for the Pens and Thomas Vokoun stopped all 20 shots that he faced.
The Carolina Hurricanes rolled into the MTS Centre and stormed the Jets early with two first period goals. Winnipeg never recovered and fell to the Canes 3-1. The Hurricanes win put them four points back of the Jets with three games in hand. After the game, Claude Noel brought up the impact of the loss in the tight Southeast race.
“The division race will play itself out. We had an opportunity to extend the gap,” Noel told the media. “No one is more disappointed than us.”
The Winnipeg Jets will now try to protect their division lead in April as they embark on a three game road trip followed by six games at home.
Photos by Miguel Moldez, Ron Cantiveros | FIlipino Journal