Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Mar 22 2015, Page 18

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - March 22, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE 3 I T had white- flag surrender, toe- tag on the season written all over it. It was to be the perfect example of a buzzkill, the cops banging on the door and the kegs running dry at the exact same moment to ruin a dandy party. Rewind, if you can, to March 6 — just 16 days ago — when Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice stood in front of a phalanx of media to break the news both Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little would be gone for a spell due to injury. And with that the Jets’ push to a playoff spot, many feared, was about to come screeching to a halt. Well, yeah, about that.... The Jets reeled off their fourth consecutive win Saturday night at the MTS Centre, blanking the Washington Capitals 3- 0 to keep pace in the jockeying for playoff positions in the NHL’s Western Conference. The win not only ended a seven- game losing streak ( 0- 6- 1) against the Caps, it improved the Jets to 37- 23- 12 and 5- 2 without Byfuglien and Little. “ We have an identity now,” said winger Blake Wheeler. “ In the past that was a little bit of an issue. We’d come into games and we always worked hard, that was never our problem, it was just working hard in the right areas at the same time and with the same goal in mind. “ We have five guys on the same page now and that makes us tough to play against.” With the win the Jets moved four points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, who fell 4- 1 to the Vancouver Canucks; gained a point on the Calgary Flames, who lost 3- 2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in OT, and kept pace with both the Canucks and Minnesota Wild. ONDREJ PAVELEC... THE NEW ‘ BOSS’? Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec, sporting his Bruce Springsteen- themed mask, kicked out 28 shots for his second shutout of the season and 13th of his career. He was superb when it mattered most, too, stopping Brooks Laich on a deflection with 5: 23 left, getting some luck when Brooks Orpik hit the post moments later and then receiving a standing ovation for his glove save on Mike Green during a sequence that lasted just 27 seconds. Pavelec has now won his last four starts, stopping 113 of the 117 shots he’s faced (. 966 save percentage). “ Any time we had breakdowns Mr. Pavelec — I think we have to call him ‘ Mister’ now — Ondrej was just fantastic,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. BLANKING OVIE & CO: Caps superstar Alex Ovechkin entered the game as the NHL’s leading point man ( 73), goal scorer ( 47) and deadliest finisher on the league’s most potent power play. But the Jets managed to take away his time and space to some extent, as he registered just two shots on goal while having six attempts blocked and missing the net on five others. Washington’s power play was 0- for- 3 in five minutes and 15 seconds and got just three shots through to Pavelec with the man advantage. Consider this, for what it’s worth: Ovechkin entered the game with an astonishing 42 goals and 42 assists against the Jets/ Atlanta Thrashers franchise in just 56 career contests. Make that 57 now. HOME- ICE ADVANTAGE: The Jets, even with all their injuries, are now 11- 2- 2 in their last 15 home games dating back to Jan. 13. Asked after the game when he could remember the last period he didn’t like from his troops, Maurice pointed to the second period of a 5- 4 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Missouri on March 10. But... “ Even in that one, it was just we stopped skating,” Maurice explained. “ I was upset during the game, and then after the game I looked at it and St. Louis was really good. Our consistency and compete level has been pretty darn good. ( That consistency) is the most difficult thing to achieve, especially when we have people out of the lineup. “ But the effort... I don’t have to wind these guys up. I really haven’t had to. They’re ready to go.” ed. tait@ freepress. mb. ca Twitter: @ WFPEdTait Limiting Ovie The Jets limited the NHL’s most potent power play to just three shots — and no goals — on power plays totaling 5: 15. Caps superstar Alex Ovechkin had only two shots. GAME BREAKERS B3 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 2015 winnipegfreepress. com Shot- blockers Winnipeg limited the Caps to 28 shots, but also blocked an additional 26 attempts at their net. Jets blue- liner Jacob Trouba had five blocks. JETS 3 CAPITALS 0 CALGARY — So far, so good for Rene Bourque— who on his third NHL team this season is finally enjoying some success. Bourque scored his second goal of the game 4: 01 into overtime to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 3- 2 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday. With prolonged pressure in the Flames end, Kevin Connauton’s shot was stopped but Bourque slipped the rebound past Karri Ramo. “ I’m still trying to see his full game but I’ll tell you, when he skates and he works, he is a real impactful player for us because he’s got great size and he’s got a knack around the net,” said Columbus coach Todd Richards.” Bourque was acquired by Columbus at the trade deadline as part of the package surrendered by Anaheim in order to acquire defenceman James Wisniewski. At the time, Bourque had two goals in 43 games between the Ducks and Montreal — where he opened the season. It’s been a different story since arriving in Ohio. Bourque has four goals in eight games and finds himself playing alongside talented Ryan Johansen, who set up Bourque’s first goal that tied the score 1- 1 in the first period. “ I just feel I’m getting some chances. I’m around the puck a lot and I feel good out there so it’s nice,” said Bourque, whose best seasons came in Calgary where twice he put up 27 goals. Artem Anisimov also scored for Columbus ( 33- 35- 4), which has won six of seven games— including its first ever sweep of Western Canada. Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler scored for Calgary ( 39- 27- 6). Locked in a tight playoff race in the Western Conference, the Flames remain third in the Pacific Division, two points back of Vancouver and two points up on Los Angeles. The Canucks and Kings hold a game in hand. Bob Hartley took little solace in the fact Calgary probably deserved better, outshooting Columbus 40- 26. “ All those beautiful stats, they’re not worth nothing once the score is up there and the game is over. That’s the most important stat and tonight they got one goal more than us,” Hartley said. “ One point, but we don’t know if it’s going to be enough. The expectations of this group, we never satisfy ourselves with mediocrity and one point out of two is no reason to celebrate.” Columbus tied it 2- 2 at 4: 21 of the third period on a mistake by Flames defenceman Kris Russell. Attempting to backhand the puck behind his net to Dennis Wideman in the opposite corner, the puck caromed off the side of the Flames net and popped out to Anisimov, who fired it past Ramo. “ I was just trying to bank it behind the net and it obviously wasn’t a good bank pass,” said Russell. “ I don’t know, I’ve got to play pool more or something.” Hartley defended Russell. “ This guy is going to give an arm for this hockey club. He’s a true warrior. He’s a leader and hey, they capitalized on one of his mistakes but how many games has he helped us win, how many games has he stopped tons of shots to sacrifice himself for the team?,” said Hartley. Calgary had three power plays over the final 14 minutes of the third period but could not beat Sergei Bobrovky. — The Canadian Press TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Ondrej Pavelec lies on the ice after making a stellar glove save on Caps defenceman Mike Green late in the third period Saturday night. TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Mark Stuart ( right) celebrates after scoring Winnipeg’s first goal. JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS Mark Scheifele ( 55) and Marcus Johansson fight for possession of the puck. Pavelec paves the way for Jets Team that was supposed to die two weeks ago alive and well By Ed Tait Well- travelled Bourque sinks Flames with overtime winner By Darren Haynes BLUE JACKETS 3 FLAMES 2 ( OT) B_ 03_ Mar- 22- 15_ FP_ 01. indd B3 3/ 21/ 15 11: 11: 45 PM

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