WINNIPEG, MB – It was the second to last home game for the Winnipeg Jets and they were playing the playoff bound Minnesota Wild who were trying to chase down sixth place in the West. This was also the fifth game of the season series between the two Central Division rivals who have developed a nice cross-border rivalry.
It turned out to be a rather unexciting match as the Wild won 1-0 .
The Jets were playing without captain Andrew Ladd who was out with an undisclosed injury , Dustin Byfuglien who is out for the remainder of the season with an upper body injury, so this was a big chunk of ice time and offence not in the lineup for Winnipeg.
The patch work line up had Evander Kane coming back in after being a healthy scratch the last game and Carl Klingberg who was just recalled today from the AHL ‘s St. John’s Icecaps.
This game also marked the NHL debut of rookie goalie Michael Hutchinson who had started the season in the ECHL before catching fire in the AHL with the Icecaps , the 24 yr old wasn’t very busy but he was sharp and calm in the net and made 16 saves off 17 shots. He was named the games second star.
“Two good things happened,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said of Hutchinson. “He looked solid and comfortable and his movements were light. The guys in front of him gave him a chance to get into the game, to feel the game. He gave his hockey team a chance to win the game.”
The Wild’s Ilya Bryzgalov continued his strong play since being acquired from the Oilers as he stopped 24 shots to get the shut out and was also named the game’s first star.
“Team effort,” Bryzgalov said. “We played very good, a very good game. The guys played an amazing game. They don’t give up much. They keep the game simple for me, let me see the shots. They block a lot of shots.”
He also had some fun with the crowd by pumping his arms when the Jets faithful started chanting Illlllyyyyyya ! He seemed to love the attention as he raised his arms on numerous chants from the crowd.
“What you saw tonight is what we have seen consistently game after game,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said of Bryzgalov. “Just very calm in the net and making a lot of very tough saves look easy.”
The Wild got their only goal off the stick of Charlie Coyle his 12th of the season on a nice feed from Zach Parise and the captain Mikko Koivu.
“As long as we play well defensively, we’re not really worried about going out and scoring [an insurance] goal right away,” Coyle said. “It’s kind of a process in us playing our game and just breaking it down. We know that when we do that, the goals are eventually going to come. We play like that defensively and have our goalies playing like that, we feel pretty good.
“[Bryzgalov] has been playing great for us. He made some pretty big stops and kept us in the game and kept us with the lead. It’s nice to have a guy like that back there [whom] we have confidence in and I know he has confidence in us. It goes both ways.”
The Wild played there trapping defensive game and bored the Jets and the crowd to sleep most of the night as they were happy with the one goal and getting out of Winnipeg with no injuries before playoffs start.http://
The Jets will close out their home schedule against the big bad Boston Bruins on Thursday night . The Bruins have locked up the top seed in the East but are fighting for first overall in the NHL .
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