ST PAUL, Minn – The Winnipeg Jets and their fans invaded the Xcel Energy Center and made it like a home game as they were louder at times than the Wild fans, but the Wild showed why it’s their house with a solid 2-1 victory.
Wild goalie Josh Harding made 21 saves for the victory. While he didn’t seem too busy he made some big saves at key times to preserve the two points.
“Our team is not giving up much and when they do, that’s when I have to make that big save,” Harding said. “But I can’t say enough about how the D-men are playing, coming back to get the puck and breaking it out clean. It’s fun to watch.”
Ondrej Pavelec made 22 saves in the loss but was solid and gave his team every chance to stay in this game.
Winnipeg fans known for chanting True North during the Canadian Anthem at the MTS Centre and also on the road when a lot of them make the trips with the team were thrown for a loop by the Wild , as they got the Anthem singer to sing the French version of O’ Canada. Jets fans still know when to chant and made sure it was loud.
Minnesota is one of the best teams at getting in your way with their sticks at tipping and blocking passes and shots and during this game it was no different as they seemed to always be in lanes making sure nothing got through.
The Jets were badly out-played in the opening frame but were only down 1-0 on a goal by Captain Mikko Koivu after a nice set up by Zach Parise.
The Jets turned it on during the second period and dominated parts but could not find anything to get by Harding, Dustin Byfuglien had the best chance as he wired one labeled for the top shelf but Harding flashed his glove hand.
Blake Wheeler was buzzing this period and created numerous chances as well.
The Jets finally got on the board in the first minute of the third when Byfuglien got his 4th when he tipped in a Bryan Little shot to tie things up at 1-1.
This looked as if it was headed for extra time and both teams had battled to at least earn one point apiece until Koivu got loose in the circle and one timed a pass from Charlie Coyle that went stick side and in for his 4th of the season.
The Jets had some pressure with the net empty but fell short in this divisional game and saw their four-game winning streak snapped.
“It was a tough game to lose,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. “I thought our guys were very engaged. They really wanted to have a good outcome.”
Minnesota does not have too many flashy players but play their system to perfection most nights to get wins. The Jets are looking to model their play after the Wild and seem to be on the right track recently.
Winnipeg will head home to play the Calgary Flames on Monday night.
Notes: Zach Redmond played his first game of the season for the Jets after his horrific accident last year in Carolina and was solid logging 11:25 minutes of ice.
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