(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets were able to string some victories
together despite continued struggles on the power play.
Who knows how far the Jets can stretch their current run if they get their
special teams on track.
Winnipeg aims for a fifth straight win on Sunday night as it visits a strong
home club in the Minnesota Wild.
The Jets had gone 0-for-17 on the power play in their previous six games ahead
of Friday night's home clash with the Philadelphia Flyers. Stretching back
even further, Winnipeg had scored just one goal in its previous 47 chances on
the man advantage, but got a pair of power-play goals from Dustin Byfuglien
versus the Flyers to force extra time in an eventual 3-2 shootout win.
Byfuglien scored in the first period and netted the game-tying goal with 5:37
left in regulation. Bryan Little then had the winner in the shootout and
Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves.
"The big thing for our team is I think we felt confident enough that we would
be able to score to get it to overtime," said Jets head coach Claude Noel. "I
think the power play obviously was a big plus for us, getting us a couple of
goals. Long time waiting for us for that to happen."
Each of Winnipeg's last three victories have come in the shootout and it has
won five of six in the tie-break format this season.
The Jets did lose defenseman Zach Bogosian to a lower-body injury late in the
second period and he is not expected to play tonight.
With Bogosian out, Zach Redmond is expected to return to the lineup for the
first time since he suffered a serious cut to his right leg during practice on
Feb. 21. He was actually recalled from the minors on Nov. 3, but Noel didn't
want to change his lineup during a winning streak.
"I've been up here for a couple weeks and we've been playing well. That's kind
of how it shakes out sometimes. You never want a guy to go down with injury,
but definitely an opportunity," said Redmond.
Winnipeg's next test comes against a Minnesota team that is 9-1-2 at home on
the season. The Wild are wrapping a three-game homestand tonight and won their
fifth in a row in Minnesota with Friday's 3-2 victory over the Florida
Zach Parise and Jason Pominville scored in the first period before the
Panthers answered with a pair of third-period tallies. Charlie Coyle, though,
prevented extra time as he put home the go-ahead goal for Minnesota with 8:22
Mikko Koivu logged his second assist of the game on Coyle's winner.
"I just tried to get myself in position for a scoring chance and (Koivu) put
(the puck) right on my stick and it found a way home," Coyle said.
Pominville's 12th goal of the season tied a club record for the most through
20 games, matching Marian Gaborik in 2002-03 and Brian Rolston in 2006-07.
Josh Harding made 22 saves for the Wild, who are 9-1-1 in their past 11
Harding has again taken over the No. 1 role for Niklas Backstrom, who is out
with an upper-body injury believed to be a concussion sustained when he took
an elbow to the head on Wednesday versus Toronto. Backstrom also missed time
earlier this season with a knee injury and Harding has gone 11-2-2 with a
1.26 goals against average and .945 save percentage in 16 games (13 starts) on
Harding faced the Jets for the first time in his career on Oct. 10, a 2-1 win
in which he needed to make 14 saves.
Pavelec took the loss, stopping 28-of-30 shots faced while falling to 2-1-0
with a 1.34 GAA lifetime versus the Wild.
That contest marked the first of five meetings this year between the clubs and
the Wild snapped a four-game series slide. They are 4-1-1 with a tie in seven
all-time meetings at home with the Jets franchise.
The Sports Network