By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG — The Minnesota Wild rode Charlie Coyle’s 12th goal of the season in the second period to victory on Monday night, dispatching the woeful Winnipeg Jets 1-0.
How it happened: Well, for a game that doesn’t mean much, it sure felt that way. Boring would be the best way to describe what was apparently a hockey game during the first period. Few chances were overshadowed by sloppy play. Michael Hutchinson, in his first NHL start was solid, making six saves, and looked alert and engaged, a breath of fresh air for fans used too much of the opposite. Carl Klingberg saw limited minutes in his first NHL game in two seasons. The Jets did a great job of limiting shots on Hutchinson, even with the Jets on the penalty kill twice in the period.
Sleep medication? Who needs it. Just re-watch the first two periods of this game. Charlie Coyle of the Wild potted his 12th of the season to open the scoring with just two seconds left in a Mark Stuart interference call. The Jets looked lacklustre across the board. Hutchinson will want the goal back, failing to make a routine stop on Coyle’s shot.
The only thing keeping fans awake in the third period was an “IL-YA, IL-YA” chant from the fans towards Wild netminder Ilya Bryzgalov. The taunts were met by Bryz raising his arms, inviting and encouraging more from the Jets faithful. Bryz had a humungous big 20-save shutout on Saturday night and is 7-0-5 with a 1.79 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in his last 12 games.
The Jets had a few chances come close, but in hockey close is never enough and the Jets fell back to losing ways in a 1-0 defeat.
Shots: 24-17 Jets
What it means: Literally nothing. The Jets are out of the playoff race circa last week so wins and losses mean nil. The team is playing for pride and moral victories for the next two games.
Jets player of the game: Michael Hutchinson feels like the right choice. First NHL game and recorded a solid performance against a playoff-calibre team.
Jets stat of the game: Michael Hutchinson made 16 saves in his first career NHL game. Not bad, and he could have picked up a win if the Jets had any offensive prowess.
What is next for the Jets: The team has one remaining home game on Thursday night against the mighty Boston Bruins before heading to Calgary to face the Flames in a back-to-back to close out their 2013-14 season