The Winnipeg Jets beat the New York Rangers in New York as both Olli Jokinen and Evander Kane scored twice; three Kings scored two goals and dish out two assists as Dauphin wins its 18th straight game; and the Yellowhead Chiefs stay alive in the Manitoba Triple A Midget League playoffs.
Let’s start with the Jets game last night in the National Hockey League…
JETS WIN… AGAIN
The most successful road trip since the Jets returned to Winnipeg is over. And now, after 19 games this season, the Jets actually look like a playoff contender. Last night Olli Jokinen and Evander Kane each scored twice while tough guy Anthony Peluso had a pair of assists as the Jets built a 4-2 lead midway through the third period and then hung on to beat the New York Rangers 4-3 at Madison Square Garden. With the win, the Jets completed the five-game road swing with a record of 4-1-0 and are now 9-9-1 on the season, ninth in the East and virtually tied for first in the Southeast Division. Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves to get the win but Jokinen, the game’s first star, and Kane who finished with three points, were the best players on the ice, although Dustin Byfuglien was a plus-four The Jets will return home to play tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils at MTS Iceplex. They’ll play Saturday at home against Washington and then head back out on the road for four more games.
In other news, the National Hockey League’s new realignment plan, being worked on with the NHL Players’ Association, includes four divisions in two conferences with wild-card spots for the playoffs. The plan was laid out in a league memo that was sent to all 30 teams yesterday. If accepted, the Jets would start play next season in the Mid-West Division with Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville and St. Louis.
There were eight other games in the NHL last night and here’s why Winnipeg moved into a tied for first in the Southeast:
Washington 3 Carolina
Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist and Braden Holtby made 33 saves to get the shutout.
Buffalo 2 Tampa 1
Ryan Miller made 31 saves, got the win and was the game’s first star. Big Tyler Myers scored the eventual winning goal.
Minnesota 2 Calgary 1 (OT)
Zach Parise scored the overtime winner just 27 seconds into the session.
Phoenix 4 Vancouver 2
Kyle Chipchura, one of the great Metis players in the NHL whose mom hails from Mather, Man., scored two goals for Phoenix.
San Jose 3 Colorado 2 (SO)
Patrick Marleau scored the shootout winner.
Florida 6 Pittsburgh 4
Thomas Kopecky had three goals and an assist to lead the Panthers. Sidney Crosby had a couple of assists for Pittsburgh.
Boston 4 NY Islanders 1
Like the Jets, the Bruins won four of five on their most recent road trip and are now 8-1-1 on the road this season. Tuukka Rask made 37 saves to get the win.
Dallas 5 Columbus 4 (OT)
Loui Eriksson scored the winner at 3:03 of overtime.
There are four games in the NHL tonight: Montreal is at Toronto at 6:30 on TSN; Washington is at Philadelphia at 6:30 on TSN2; Nashville is at Anaheim; and Detroit plays Los Angeles at 9 p.m. on TSN2.
There was three games in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League last night: Jesse Sinatynski, Daulton Siwak and league MVP Guillaume Naud each had two goals and two assists as Dauphin won its 18th straight game, 11-2 over Swan Valley; Justin Fox had two goals and an assist as Winkler beat Portage 5-2; and Russell Turner had a goal and was the game’s first star as Waywayseecappo beat Virden 3-1. There is one game in the MJHL tonight: Swan Valley plays at Neepawa.
BRANDON WHEAT KINGS
The 21-36-3-2 Brandon Wheat Kings return to action tonight as the Swift Current Broncos play at Westman Place at 7 p.m.
MANITOBA TRIPLE A MIDGET LEAGUE
There was one game in the Manitoba Triple A Midget Hockey League playoffs last night: Yellowhead berat Pembina Valley 4-2, but Pembina Valley leads the series 2-1. There is one game tonight: Southwest plays the Winnipeg Thrashers at Gateway Arena. The Thrashers lead that series 2-0.
MANITOBA MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
There were no games in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League last night: In fact, no games again until tomorrow night when Transcona plays at St. Vital.
KEYSTONE JUNIOR B HOCKEY
There were no games in the Keystone Jr. B Hockey League playoffs last night: The schedule for one of the semifinals is set. It will start this coming Sunday with St. Malo at Peguis. The Arborg and Selkirk dates have yet to be announced.