Jets cool off Bruins 3-1

Patience and strong goaltending helped the Winnipeg Jets move

into the top spot in the Southeast Division with a 3-1 win over the

Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

The Jets once again heaped praise on Ondrej Pavelec, who let in

only one goal on 28 shots as the Jets rallied in the third to come

back from a 1-0 deficit.

”To say (Pavelec) has been on his game is a bit of an

understatement, he’s been spectacular,” said Blake Wheeler, who

had two goals for the Jets.

”He plays big right now,” coach Claude Noel said.

”Stuff gets bounced on the way to the net and he makes saves.

… To me that’s just maturing as a goalie and that’s why we want

him to be part of our future.”

At the start of the lockout-shortened season Noel said

goaltending was going to be more important than ever for any team

that wanted to make the playoffs.

Wheeler and Evander Kane scored 57 seconds apart in the third as

the Jets took charge of a game that Boston had controlled for 2 1/2

periods.

Wheeler also added an empty-netter for the Jets, who leapfrogged

Carolina again to take the lead in the Southeast Division with 34

points. The Hurricanes lost 4-1 to Florida and are two points

back.

Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins, who dropped their second

straight and are two points back of Montreal for the lead in the

Northeast.

”We did play a pretty good game all night, but we just let our

foot off the pedal there for a little bit and they took advantage

of it,” Marchand said.

Until the third, the Bruins had given the Jets a lesson in tight

defensive play and it was Pavelec who kept them in the game.

The only goal he allowed came just eight seconds into the second

period. Marchand grabbed a loose puck right beside the Winnipeg net

and scored because of a mistake by Zach Bogosian.

Pavelec said later it was just a bad bounce, but it did seem to

take the wind out of Winnipeg’s sails in the second.

The Jets defenseman bounced the puck off the net instead of

clearing it, Marchand swooped in and was free and clear to slip it

in from the edge of the crease.

Noel said he didn’t plan on raising the issue with a player who

has been one of his top blue liners.

”We’ve all done that, does somebody need to remind you, does

somebody have to say to you `what were you thinking?”’

He also praised his top line of Wheeler, captain Andrew Ladd and

Bryan Little. Both Little and Ladd picked up assists Tuesday.

”That line has logged heavy minutes,” Noel said.

”They keep doing the right things. There’s not many times that

line has an off night.”

The Jets managed to shut down the Bruins in the first period

even though Boston had two power-play opportunities.

The Jets didn’t score until 11:44 of the third, when Wheeler

redirected Bogosian’s shot from the blue-line past Tuukka Rask on a

power play.

Then Kane slammed home Grant Clitsome’s rebound to put the Jets

ahead at 12:41.

Rask stopped 22 shots for Boston.

Dustin Byfuglien had a bit of an off night, but Noel said the

team as a whole is growing and showing more maturity and that’s

important right now as they fight to stay in the playoff

picture.

”We’re reliant on each other and the group and not just one or

two. … You’re only as good as the group for me,” Noel said.

”There’s no easy games. Just because we beat Boston doesn’t

mean we’re going to play Washington back to back and that will be a

lesser game.”

Notes: The Jets have been keeping it clean, particularly at

home. Only Calgary and Minnesota have been short-handed fewer times

than the Jets. They’ve had to kill 88 penalties in total and an

NHL-low 29 at home, before Tuesday.