By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Evander Kane’s goal at the 2:57 mark of the second period proved to be all the Winnipeg Jets needed to dispatch the New Jersey Devils on Thanksgiving Sunday at the MTS Centre.
The Jets, and in particular head coach Claude Noel, will have plenty to be thankful for as he gobbles down some turkey in the post-game meal. His team played a full 60 minutes Sunday night, a mantra that was been pushed during their three-game skid and finally executed in their 3-0 rout of the winless Devils.
Evander Kane was a game-changer for the Jets in the win, but Noel refused to give the praise to just his star left-winger.
“The more game changing for me would be more of our whole team general mentality play,” said Noel. “We managed the game in front of us and played way more conscientious.
“In a general sense, and I am not taking anything away from Evander – he played a good, strong game – but I thought our whole team played a good, strong game…plus we played 60 minutes.”
Kane agreed with his coach and praised the play of his teammates on the night.
“That is the way you have to play as a team,” said Kane. “We did a good job of forechecking with five and were able to play in their zone for the majority of the game which is nice.
“I think the key for us tonight was forechecking with five, not sitting back when we had the lead in the third period, continuing to push and playing as if we were down 4-1.”
Al Montoya played superbly all night and earned a well-deserved shutout with his sound positional game.
“I thought today Montoya was really good,” said Noel. “His game was great, he’s played in tough situations – he did it last year and he has done it this year. There was a lot of pressure on Al and I thought he handled it superb just like he did last season.
“He doesn’t make me nervous when he goes into the net.”
Montoya said he felt good in the Jets goal tonight, his first game of the 2013-14 season.
“Yeah, it feels great knowing what we were coming into this game with — a couple of losses, it’s not good. So to come out here, feel good skating the way I was skating and how the team was communicating with me and letting me see the puck, it feels good to come away with the win and we will prepare for the next one.”
That “next one” will be against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday back here at the MTS Centre.