TAMPA, Fla – Coming off a brutal 4-1 loss to Florida the Jets needed a total team effort from the entire bench and they got it in a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Coach Claude Noel played a hunch when he started backup goalie Al Montoya against the NHL’s highest scoring team.
His backup rewarded him and his team with a spectacular 28 save performance for the win.
Halfway through the period Jets winger Eric Tangradi got his first of the season taking a nice dish from Kyle Wellwood putting a wrist shot past Anders Linbackto to put the Jets up by a goal.
After the first 20 minutes Jets held a tenuous lead 1-0 with shots favoring Winnipeg 13-12.
Just as the puck was dropped to start the second Mark Stuart of the Jets and BJ Crombeen of the Lightning dropped the mitts for a good middleweight tilt that got both benches going.
Winnipeg got themselves into a bind when they were given two penalties on one play giving the Lightning a full 2 minute 5-on-3 powerplay.
Montoya made a couple of huge saves off of Vinny Lecavalier and the Jets killed off this off to hold onto the 1-0 lead.
Later in the period the Lightning found themselves down by two men with the Jets on the power play.
Captain Andrew Ladd had the best chance for Winnipeg as he rang one off the post.
Through the middle frame minutes Jets maintained their lead 1-0 and continued to hold a slim lead in shots 20-18.
Just a minute into the final frame the Jets took a too many men penalty to give the dangerous Lightning power play another chance to get on the board, but Winnipeg killed it off once again.
Steven Stamkos tied things up with his league leading 18th goal off a beauty no look pass from behind the net by Martin St. Louis to make it a 1-1 game.
The Jets kept digging and Bryan Little got the winner after some great work by Ladd and Blake Wheeler down low to free him up as he buried it through Linbacks five hole to make it a 2-1 Jets win.
The Jets avenged an earlier 8-3 loss here to the Lightning with this gutsy 2-1 victory.
Winnipeg now heads back to Florida for a rematch on Friday night versus the Panthers.
1st-Al Montoya Winnipeg
2nd-Evander Kane Winnipeg
3rd-Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay
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