By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Evander Kane hypothesized that a change in attitude, a certain ‘who cares’ approach, has revived his Winnipeg Jets team and led to their recent three-game winning streak.
“I think the difference is that after we win a game, we have won three in a row now, we kind of have the ‘who cares’ attitude a little bit,” said Kane. “I think we need to have a little bit more of that, but from my point of view I can see that attitude starting to change a little bit.”
Kane, who unselfishly assisted on Anthony Peluso’s empty net goal in Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, was still hesitant to say that Winnipeg has turned over a new leaf. The Jets have won three games straight, he is correct on that. But as Kane himself pointed out, the team is still not where it needs to be: the playoff picture.
“Three in a row is great but we’re still in the same spot we were three games ago, we are out of the playoffs and a ways out so we need to continue to win,” said Kane, who made no bones about why the attitude shift has occurred. “Being professional, wanting to win, I think so. Hopefully it will continue to rub off and that is what is going to make us successful.”
The Jets have been playing their best hockey of the season over the past week, including a gritty 2-1 overtime character win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. Al Montoya has been an integral part of proceedings for the Jets since stepping in for Ondrej Pavelec in a relief effort against the Minnesota Wild three games ago.
Goaltending has been a question mark for the Jets all season long, but Montoya has found himself with an impressive 8-2-1 record with an 1.84 GAA, 0.934 SV%, and two shutouts.
“Our team, they have been doing a great job,” said Montoya who did his best to deflect the praise to his teammates. “If I’m seeing the first one (puck) they are whacking the second one out of the way so that is a great one-two punch, feeding off the defenceman.”
Montoya is aware of his situation he is in, knowing that he is still Winnipeg’s No. 2, and says he prefers to live life one day at a time.
“I live day-to-day, so for me it is just come here, prepare and enjoy this win now and go from there,” he said.
While Jets’ head coach Claude Noel won’t admit it, it would appear that he has a goaltender controversy on his hands. The play of his No. 1 has been sub-par at best and with Montoya playing so well, it is becoming harder and harder to play Pavelec in it’s wake.
Yet, when pressed on the subject, it is apparent Noel doesn’t quite see it that way.
“I am fully aware of what Al Montoya is doing and how he is playing,” he said. “You can’t lose sight of the fact that Pavelec is our starting goalie. That is not to say that Montoya is not going to play, right now we are just going to go with what we go with, however that is.”
Scott’s Scribbles: Chris Thorburn picked up an assist in his 500th career NHL game tonight.