Tuesday nights victory over Boston represented a lot more for the Winnipeg Jets than just beating the defending Stanley Cup champs. The Jets led for the majority of the game, while Pavelec stood on his head again the team in front of them did what was needed to get the job done. It was 1-0 heading into the third period and a few minutes in Boston finally got one past Pav.
At this point the Jets had two options, respond or fold. They chose to respond as Bryan Little potted the eventual game winning goal just over a minute later. That’s not the first time that the Jets have given up a lead in the third period and it’s also not the first time they responded with a goal soon thereafter.
Winnipeg is starting to develop a reputation of being a tough team to play against in any building and a very resilient team to play against in the Hangar at MTS Centre. It hasn’t just started with the recent game against the Bruins but first happened in the preseason in their second home game against the Hurricanes. Trailing 1-0 going into the third period, 3 goals later and the Jets had themselves a 3-1 win.
The next game against Nashville they came from behind twice to force overtime before dropping the game in a shootout. Tuesday’s game was against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the hottest team in the NHL and a team that had not lost a game in regulation during the entire month of November.
The Jets redeemed themselves after blowing a 2 goal lead a week back in Boston after they gave up 4 straight goals to lose 4-2. In their last 10 games and the first half of the 21 games I’ve been talking about, they are 7-2-1. On home ice this season they are 8-4-0 (.667) as opposed to on the road where they are 4-7-4 (.400). If they can maintain that winning percentage at home they will wind up with 27 wins.
The last team to win at least 27 games at home in a single season was the Vancouver Canucks last year who went 27-9-5 on route to the Presidents Trophy. Six teams won more than 27 at home in 2009-10 with all of them making the playoffs. The most home wins not to make the playoffs was Montreal/Toronto in 2006-07/05-06 with a 26-12-3 record. The most home wins in a season belongs to Vancouver in 1995-96 when they had a record of 36-3-2.
Make no mistake about it Winnipeg will be fighting to get into the playoffs but a strong home record can make it easier on them. No team has missed the NHL playoffs after posting their 27th win at home, the Jets are already at 8 with another 9 home games before the end of 2011.
The win against the Bruins was much more to this team then just beating the defending champs. It went a long way in establishing the MTS Centre as one of the toughest arenas to come into and leave victorious for their opponents. If you can have that edge and get up on teams early and prove you can come back against the best teams you can psych your opponents out before they even step onto the ice.
The Jets magic number is 19… 19 more wins at home and the Jets should make the playoffs.
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