So it appears my prediction of a Penguins laugher was somewhat off.
You really can't blame me for thinking it would be a cakewalk for the Pens after what the Jets had shown over the course of their first three games. I don't really know if this was the Jets team we can expect to see throughout the rest of the season or if it was just an anomaly.
Here are some of the big-time performers for tonight's contest.
This kid was gold all night long. Easily the most exciting player on the ice tonight for either club. He has great ability to create time and space for himself through his quick feet and sick hands. For the first time this season I saw a shot of his reach the net. It was a hard wrister from the slot that was labelled for the low glove side of Fleury but the tender made a great save to rob the young Russian. He played the wing instead of center for the first time this season and if this performance is any indication of what it will be like with him on the wing and Antropov playing the middle, by all means, do it all season.
Pavelec was sick tonight. Although the Jets "D" was good tonight, they weren't perfect, and when they made mistakes Pavelec was there to bail them out. Not to split hairs but this should have been a shutout. The referee's missed Matt Cooke's goalie interference on the Penguins goal. Without Cooke running into him, I think Pavelec makes that save. I know he is a streaky goaltender but we can only hope he plays this well for a good portion of the season.
Big buff played his best game of the year. He rarely did anything stupid and looked pretty dangerous with the puck all game long.
Another one of the Jets "D" that played their best game of the season. I suppose that goes without saying though. Great. Now I just feel stupid. Bogosian finally showed every Jet fan what they hadn't seen yet. The kid just has gross ability. If it ever turns out that his brains become equal to his physical talent, he'll win some Norris trophies. He had a rush at one point where he took the puck in full stride at the side boards, skated around his own net with a Pen on his heels, picked up speed, weaved through the neutral zone, across the blue line, used Letang as a screen and pumped a wrist shot off the pipe. Exciting player that I hope can find consistency in his game.
Unfortunately the kid was invisible again tonight. He didn't make any real mistakes but offensively he was non-existent. I don't think he played a shift in the 3rd.
The Jets' energy line was finally that. They were physical, kept the puck deep, and when they didn't they played responsibly in their own end. Great effort from that group.
The only member of the top line that had a really good game was Ladd. Wheeler was pretty good but made a couple bonehead plays at the opposing blueline that really put the defense in a bind. Little was fairly weak. Offensively he made a couple of quality plays but all-in-all he was somewhat invisible.
It was nice to see some jump from this team. The sold-out crowd at the MTS Center deserved better than they saw in the season-opener and they got it. This time the team actually seemed to feed off the crowd, which did not happen against the Habs.
The Jets lost a quality defensemen tonight with Ron Hainsey going down with an upper-body injury. Hainsey had been the teams best "D" man going into tonight. Hopefully its not major.
Next its off to the center-of-the-universe to play against the Leafs. It will be very interesting to see which team shows up.