The Winnipeg Jets played another outstanding hockey game last night and beat the New York Rangers 3-1 at MTS Centre to take over eighth place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The NHL’s new divisional alignment has been approved and will start next season. The Brandon Wheat Kings finished the WHL campaign this weekend and the MJHL, KJHL, MMJHL and Manitoba Triple A Midget Hockey League playoffs all resume this weekend.
Let’s start with the Jets tremendous win and the other games from the National Hockey League last night…
Nik Antropov scored his second goal in as many nights in the first period, Antti Miettinen scored the eventual winner in the second period, Andrew Ladd scored into an empty net and Ondrej Pavelec not only stopped New York’s gifted Marian Gaborik on a penalty shot, he also made 26 saves to get the win as the Winnipeg Jets beat the New York Rangers 2-1 in front of another loud, proud crowd at MTS Centre. With the win, the Jets picked up their ninth of a possible 10 points in the past five games. They also improved to 14-11-2 on the season and moved into eighth place all by themselves in the Eastern Conference. With Carolina’s 3-2 loss to Washington last night, the Jets also pulled to within one point of the first-place Hurricanes in the Southeast Division.
The Jets now head out onto the road for a pair of games: they’re in Toronto tomorrow night at 6 p.m. on CBC and then they play in Ottawa on Sunday at 4 p.m. on TSN Jets TV.
Good news for the NHL yesterday: realignment has been approved. The NHL’s Board of Governors approved the new two conference, four-division plan that will go into effect next season. Right now, Winnipeg will play in Division B – and yes that name will likely change – with Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville and St. Louis. The Stanley Cup Playoffs will still consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it will be division-based and a wild-card system has been added and, perhaps best of all, the new alignment ensures that all 30 teams play in all 30 arenas at least once each season for the first time since 1997-98.
There were 10 other games in the NHL last night, three other games involving Southeast Division teams:
Washington 3 Carolina 2
Trailing 2-1 heading into the third, Washington got unanswered goals from Alex Ovechkin and Mike Ribeiro to win it. The Hurricanes blew a 2-0 lead and are now only one point ahead of the Jets in the race for first in the Southeast.
Boston 4 Florida 1
Patrice Bergeron scored two goals while Tuukka Rask made 30 saves to get the win.
NY Islanders 2 Tampa Bay 0
Evgeni Nabokov made 18 saves to get the shutout. The Lightning are now third in the Southeast, seven points back of the second-place Jets.
St. Louis 3 Phoenix 0
The Blues Chris Stewart had two goals and an assist while Jake Allen made 28 saves to get his first career shutout. Alexander Steen returned from injury and had a goal and two assists and was the game’s third star.
Pittsburgh 3 Toronto 1
The Leafs led 1-0 heading into the third but Pittsburgh scored three unanswered – Pascal Dupuis scored twice – as the Penguins won their seventh straight.
Vancouver 7 Nashville 4
A little pond hockey on the coast. 30-year-old Chicago Wolves centre Andrew Ebbett had a goal and two assists and was the game’s first star. Former Moose Jannik Hansen also had a goal and two assists.
Minnesota 5 Colorado 3
Mikko Koivu had two goals and Ryan Suter had two assists to lead the Wild.
San Jose 4 Los Angeles 3
Logan Couture scored two goals including the eventual winner and dished out an assist.
Chicago 2 Columbus 1 (SO)
Patrick Kane scored another highlight-reel goal in the shootout to win it as Chicago halted a two-game slide.
Anaheim 2 Dallas 1 (SO)
Ryan Getzlaf scored the shootout winner.
There are three games in the NHL tonight: New Jersey is at Philadelphia; Nashville is at Calgary on SportsNet West at 8 p.m. and Detroit is at Edmonton.
There were no games in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s best-of-seven quarterfinal series last night, but three tonight: Steinbach, leading 2-1, is in Portage; the Blues, leading 3-0, are back in Winkler and Waywayseecappo plays at Dauphin. That series is tied 2-2.
BRANDON WHEAT KINGS
The 23-39-4-4 Brandon Wheat Kings are back in action tonight, on the road, to face the Warriors in Moose Jaw and then they’ll play the final game of the regular season against the same Moose Jaw Warriors back home in Brandon tomorrow night, 7:30 at Westman Place.
MANITOBA TRIPLE A MIDGET LEAGUE
There were no games in the Manitoba Triple A Midget Hockey League playoffs last night, but the best-of-five final starts on Sunday as the Winnipeg Thrashers face the Winnipeg Wild at 12:30 p.m. at MTS Iceplex.
MANITOBA MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
There were no games in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League playoffs last night, but two tonight: River East, leading 3-1 is at the Twins while St. James, trailing 3-1, plays at Pembina Valley.
KEYSTONE JUNIOR B HOCKEY
And there were no games in the Keystone Jr. B Hockey League semifinals last night, but one big one tonight: St. Malo, trailing 2-0, plays the Peguis Juniors at Fisher River.
The 30th annual Keystone Cup Western Junior B Hockey Championships is brought to by the 2013 Keystone Cup Host Committee and the St. Malo Junior B Warriors, April 17th to 21st at the Saint Malo Arena. The tournament will feature teams from BC , Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Day and weekend passes are available and the kickoff fundraiser goes April 6 at the Community Hall in St.Malo. Check out keystonecup.ca.