For Jets veteran Olli Jokinen, a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings Friday night at the MTS Centre was extra special.
Jokinen scored his 300th career NHL goal in front of a sold out crowd, beating Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and giving the Jets a 2-1 lead heading in to the third period.
“It was nice to get that out of the way so we don’t have to wait for game forty,” joked Jokinen when asked what it meant to reach a career milestone. “The main thing is that we got two points.”
Jokinen also added an assist in the third period en route to his team’s second win in as many games. It was the first multi-point game for Jokinen dating back to February 26 where he registered two goals in a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers.
Rock, paper, scissors
The Jets got a healthy dose of offence from their second line Friday night. Evander Kane, Devin Setoguchi and Mark Scheifele combined for seven points.
Kane opened the scoring for the Jets with a pretty goal, beating Quick high glove side.
Kane’s second goal of the night came in third period but was later ruled tipped in by Setoguchi. Asked whether he thought his new linemate got a piece of his shot, Kane offered up a way of settling the dispute.
“Whatever he thinks is fine with me but maybe we’ll do rock, paper, scissors,” said a smiling Kane. “It doesn’t matter to me. We got the win.”
Let's go streaking
Speaking of points, a number of Jets are currently riding point streaks after the first two games of the season. Scheifele’s assist on Kane’s goal in the first period gives the rookie two points in as many games.
Dustin Byfuglien also added an assist, extending his streak to four points in two games. Same goes for defenceman Tobias Enstrom whose assist on Jokinen’s goal gives him three on the year.
A hit parade
The Jets understood heading in to the game that if they had any chance of beating a heavily skilled L.A. Kings team, they would have to play physical. All but three players were credited for using the body, with the Jets outhitting their opponent 31-18.
“As a team I think we’re a little more conscious this year in terms of our physical play, knowing that we need to be a physical team to move forward,” said Kane, who finished the game with a team-high five hits. “You can’t be big for nothing. You got to use that size to our advantage and I thought we did a good job early on laying the body.”
It became the main focus heading in to the game, to use the body early and often against a team who less than 24 hours before had defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout.
Overall, the Jets looked good. Besides a slow first period, Winnipeg played tough, battled hard and proved, so far, they can handle the fierceness of the West.
But there’s always room for improvement, particularly in the faceoff department. The Jets finished 37 per cent in the dot, winning only 23 of 63 draws.
Secondary scoring is a key ingredient to success in the NHL and so far it appears the Jets have it. Eight of 10 goals have come from someone other than the Ladd-Little-Wheeler line. If the Jets can continue to have success from their depth lines, they’ll be a hard team to beat.
First Star – WPG Evander Kane
Earlier this week he said he wanted to improve on becoming a more prolific scorer in the National Hockey League. On Friday night, Evander Kane did just that. He finished the game with a goal and added two assists to help dethrone a heavily favoured Kings team.
Second Star – WPG Devin Setoguchi
He was brought over from Minnesota in the offseason to add scoring to the second line. After being held off the game sheet in Tuesday’s game against Edmonton, Setoguchi potted two goals and added an assist en route to Winnipeg’s second win in a row.
Third Star – WPG Ondrej Pavelec
Don’t let the score fool you. Pavelec stood on his head for most of the game, stopping many shots at close range. He finished with 33 saves on the night, turning aside a skilled L.A. offence to secure his second win in as many starts.