By Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming)
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets are giant-killers.
Tuesday night, the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins came into town, touting a near immaculate 14-0-1 record since November 1, but fell 2-1 at the hands of a Winnipeg team that has really turned things on as of late, going 7-2-1 against their last 10 opponents.
“I thought we played a really solid 60-minute game,” said head coach Claude Noel. “Pavelec was outstanding when he had to be outstanding.”
Watch post-game reaction:
Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was just that, stopping 39 shots from a team that had scored 23 goals in their last six games. His 10th win of the year, and third in a row, earned him the game’s first-star selection. The 24-year-old now boasts an impressive .965 save percentage during his team’s three-game winning streak.
“Tonight I think we played solid hockey,” said Pavelec. “It’s huge for our future to know we can beat (any team).”
“It was huge that we scored right away, and after that we managed the puck really well.”
Pavelec assisted on the opening goal, as Johnny Oduya started the rush and found Andrew Ladd on the wing. Ladd’s snapshot over Tuukka Rask’s shoulder from the circle gave the Jets a 1-0 lead.
“Ladd’s goal was a big goal for us,” said Noel. “He’s got that sneaky shot… that just rips off his stick.”
Forward Bryan Little, who scored his second game-winning goal of the season in the second period — just 1:34 after Boston had tied it — has been on a tear as of late. After struggling early in the season to mark the score sheet, the fourth-year centreman is now on a four-game point-scoring streak while tallying six goals and six assists in his last 10 games.
“Our line is playing good,” said Little of his linemates Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler. “The last little while everyone’s been going good. Confidence is a big thing too, and I think we have it.”
The Jets (12-11-1) surpass the .500 mark for the first time this season, and are now in sole possession of second place in the Southeast — one point ahead of Washington, and six back of the surprising 15-8-4 Florida Panthers.
ChrisD.ca video/Darrin Bauming