Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Kesler was penalized for an illegal check to the head of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers late in the first period of Game 2.
Myers, who stands 6’8″ tall compared to Kesler at 6’2″ tall, was bending over to play the puck when Kesler caught him with the hit, which resulted in a minor penalty. Myers remained in the game for Winnipeg.
Currently holding down the last Wild Card spot in the West, the Jets moved to 96 points, three ahead of the L.A. Kings, and both teams have two games remaining on their schedules.
Back-to-back games for the Jets and Pavelec? No problem. Back-to-back shutouts, as Pavelec has stopped a combined 62 shots in two games.
And unlikely scorer Chris Thorburn notched the game’s only goal for Winnipeg.
“There’s no better way. When you shutout the two teams you’re playing, it’s as good as it gets,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice told the Winnipeg Sun. “Good on the guys. Our goaltending was pretty good, everybody had a piece of the game and the goal comes from the line that played the least but had the biggest impact.”
However, this game wasn’t without controversy.
Late in the second period, Paul Stastny appeared to have the tying goal for St. Louis, but the goal was waved off and Stastny was called for slashing the stick out of Tyler Myers’ hands before taking control of the puck and beating Pavelec on the backhand.Of course, there were conflicting opinions on whether it was a valid penalty.
Stastny: "If (Myers) is holding his stick normally, he doesn't lose it. But what are you going to do." #stlblues
Eventful Monday in Winnipeg — the Jets welcomed back a pair of defensemen, but lost another one for a significant length of time.
First, the returnees: Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers were back at it, with Myers declaring himself “good to go” for tomorrow’s game against San Jose after sitting Saturday’s big win over Tampa Bay; Byfuglien said it was too soon to tell if he’d be back, having missed the last four contests.
For Postma, the news was far less encouraging.
The 26-year-old, who returned to the Jets lineup on Saturday after a lengthy stint in the press box, played very well — getting over 23 minutes of action — but suffered a lower-body injury, with a timetable for return of “weeks, not days, even on the positive end of it,” per today’s update from head coach Paul Maurice.
That puts Postma on the shelf with fellow blueliners Byfuglien, Ben Chiarot and Grant Clitsome, and could sideline him for the remainder of the regular season. Postma had appeared in 42 games this season, scoring six points.
The Jets are in a fight for their playoff lives, and Tuesday’s tilt against the Sharks will be a significant contest in terms of Western Conference postseason jockeying. San Jose is four points back of Winnipeg for the final wild card, though it’s possible both the Sharks and Jets could be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in by tomorrow; with a win over Arizona tonight, Los Angeles would take the wild card lead.
Jets’ coach Paul Maurice said the club expects to know more about Myers’ injury by Tuesday when he is checked out in Winnipeg.
“Some injuries take a few days before they settle down and before you can get a real good handle on where he’ll be going forward,” said Maurice per the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe.
Postma has been a healthy scratch in 27 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 8.
“Obviously it’s a tough one to go through, not only physically but mentally,” said Postma of being a scratch. “Getting that opportunity to be back in the lineup is awesome and I’m excited to be part of it.
“A big part of this game is confidence. Some days you have it, some you don’t. I have to have confidence in myself, know I’m here for a reason.”
The 26-year-old has two goals and six points to go along with a plus-2 rating while averaging 13:55 in ice time in 41 games this season.
He is expected to begin Saturday’s game paired with Mark Stuart.
For the second time this season, Winnipeg is suffering through a rash of injuries on defense.
Already without the services of Dustin Byfuglien (upper body), Ben Chiarot (hand) and Grant Clitsome (back), the Jets saw Tyler Myers go down to injury in last night’s loss to Florida and, today, were forced to recall Keaton Ellerby from AHL St. John’s.
Ellerby, 26, has yet to appear in a game for the Jets this season after playing 51 a year ago. The former Panther and King has dressed for 41 games with the IceCaps this season, scoring three goals and 16 points.
The Jets are reeling at the moment, having lost three of their last four, and it’s fair to suggest their disjointed blueline has played factor. With Myers now possibly out for Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay, the club could be dressing a defense comprised of Tobias Enstrom, Jacob Trouba, Jay Harrison, Adam Pardy, Mark Stuart and Paul Postma — hardly the idea unit for a team desperate to make the playoffs.