This was precisely the type of response the Winnipeg Jets needed, given the mitigating circumstances. After dropping six consecutive games coming out of the NHL All-Star break and dealing with the type of off-ice drama that threatened to derail a promising season, the Jets found a way to pull together, block out the potential distractions and do all the necessary things that allowed them to get back into the win column for the first time since Jan. 21. By the time the final buzzer sounded at MTS Centre on Sunday, the Jets had earned a 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. The actual score mattered little. By picking up a point in consecutive overtime losses, the Jets figured they were on the right track, but a moral victory for playing better in this game simply would not do, especially not against an Avalanche team that had closed within seven points in the wild-card standings. Despite a so-so opening period that saw the Jets fall behind 1-0 on a goal from Avalanche defenceman Tyson Barrie with a delayed penalty about to be called, it was a four-goal outburst during the second period that allowed Winnipeg to announce to the rest of the NHL that reports of their prospective demise were more than a tad premature. This was a statement game at a time the Jets desperately needed one. “It’s nice to finally get out of this hole and hopefully, we can kind of generate something now,” said Jets centre Bryan Little. “We knew if we played something similar to what we had the past couple of games (against the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks), it was just a matter of time before it paid off and we got out of this. This was that game.” While the Jets still have several teams in hot pursuit, they’ve managed to stay above the playoff line even after going through their longest losing streak of the season. “Through all of this, we kept our heads,” said Little. “We didn’t really panic and we didn’t really get too negative. Guys were still in good spirits, which was a good thing.” Jets head coach Paul Maurice has done a nice job of galvanizing his group under some trying circumstances.
Jets bury Avalanche to deep-six skid
Winnipeg Sun | Feb 9