BOSTON (AP) Six different Winnipeg skaters scored in the season opener, and Jets coach Paul Maurice is happy about that.
Not just for the well-distributed scoring, but because he’s got a half-dozen players who can spend another day in fantasy land.
”Everybody’s got hopes and dreams when they come into a season, thinking they can score 50,” Maurice said with a smile after the Jets beat Boston 6-2 on Thursday night. ”There’s six guys that still think they might.”
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Chris Thorburn and Nicolas Petan scored in the third period after the Bruins came within one goal, and the Jets opened the season with the franchise’s first victory in Boston since 2007. The Bruins had beaten the Thrashers and Jets 13 consecutive times in Boston.
”I’d never won here, so it’s been at least five years,” said forward Blake Wheeler, who played with the Bruins from 2008 until he was traded to the Thrashers in 2011, their last season in Atlanta.
”It’s never an easy challenge here. You really try to take advantage of it when you can, and I think tonight was a big relief.”
Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves for the Jets.
After David Krejci scored to give Boston a 1-0 lead after one period, Mark Scheifele tied it.
Wheeler gave the Jets the lead for good midway through the second period after Andrew Ladd stole the puck from Boston’s Matt Irwin behind the Bruins net. Drew Stafford gave the Jets a 3-1 lead.
After a slow first period, Maurice said, ”We got off the plane and off the bus and started to skate incrementally better and better. And a pretty darn good team after that.”
David Pastrnak stickhandled along the left side before wristing it past Pavelec to make it 3-2 early in the third. But less than four minutes later, Thorburn sneaked through the defense and put a bouncing puck past Tuukka Rask to make it 4-2.
Petan, who was making his NHL debut, deflected a puck off his skate and into the net midway through the final period to make it 5-2.
”I think it hit the back of my skate. I’m pretty sure. I don’t even know for sure, but I’ll take it,” he said. ”Everybody saying congratulations on the bench I think is something I’ll remember for a long time.”
Alexander Burmistrov added an empty-netter with 3:38 to play, backhanding it in from the far faceoff circle.
Rask made 26 saves in all.
The Jets are trying to build on last season’s playoff appearance – their first since moving to Winnipeg before the 2011-12 season. They were swept by Anaheim in the first round.
The Bruins are trying to bounce back after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2007 – the year before Claude Julien took over on the bench. General manager Peter Chiarelli was replaced by Don Sweeney and regulars like Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton were shipped out.
But with top defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg missing the games with injuries, the Bruins struggled to keep the puck out of their net.
”We kind of got away from our defensive game,” Krejci said. ”I thought we did a pretty god job of creating a bunch of scoring chances but on the other hand, totally forgot about our defensive game. So that’s what happened.”
NOTES: Chara, the Bruins’ captain has an unspecified upper body injury, and Seidenberg had surgery to repair a herniated disc. … Boston’s Jonas Kemppainen and Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers also made their NHL debuts. … The Jets open with four road games in six nights, including two back-to-backs.