WINNIPEG -- Blake Wheeler says his Winnipeg Jets are racing for a Western Conference playoff spot. Winnipeg got out of the post-Olympic starting blocks quickly with a 3-2 shootout win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night as Wheeler scored his 23rd goal of the season. "A vast percentage of the league is going to be pretty rested after a 2 1/2-week break," said Wheeler, who played for the United States in Sochi, but saw limited minutes as the Americans 13th forward. "I think its an all-out sprint. Theres no time to be tired." Wheeler was joined on the score sheet by Bryan Little. Olli Jokinen put away the shootout winner in the fourth round for Winnipeg (29-26-6). Devin Setoguchi also beat Coyotes goalie Mike Smith in the shootout, while Antoine Vermette was the only Coyote to solve Ondrej Pavelec. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Martin Hanzal scored in regulation for Phoenix (27-21-11) in the first game for both teams after a 19-day break for the Winter Olympics. The Jets continued their winning ways under new head coach Paul Maurice, improving to 10-3-1 since he replaced the fired Claude Noel. Despite some less-than-crisp play, the coach said he was pleasantly surprised by how well his team played after such a long layoff. "It was tough at times, but just from the stuff I watched the last two days (around the league), it was a better game than I thought I was going to see," Maurice said. Winnipeg pulled within one point of the Coyotes as both teams chase a wild-card playoff spot, although Phoenix has two games in hand. Dallas sits in the final spot with 66 points, one better than Phoenix and Vancouver, and two ahead of Winnipeg. Pavelec made 34 saves for the Jets, with two of his toughest stops coming in overtime. "It wasnt an easy game for both teams. It was the first game back and we didnt know what to expect a little bit," said Pavelec, who stopped Mike Ribeiro to end the shootout. Smith stopped 27 shots for the visitors, including a pair of scoring chances in the final seconds of regulation. "For the most part I felt not too bad," said Smith, who was a member of Canadas gold medal-winning team in Sochi but didnt see any playing time. "But like I said, it doesnt matter how you feel, you need to come out on the better side of things." Hanzal put away a rebound to tie the game at 2-2 with Jets centre Jim Slater in the penalty box 6:40 into the third period. Winnipeg took advantage of a giveaway by Coyotes defenceman Zbynek Michalek to take the lead late in the second period. With Ekman-Larsson in the penalty box, Little intercepted Michaleks pass in the low slot and beat Smiths glove hand to make it 2-1. The teams wasted no time reminding fans of one of the differences between international hockey and the NHL game. Winnipegs Zach Bogosian and Phoenixs Rob Klinkhammer dropped the gloves just 78 seconds into the game after Klinkhammer shoved Bogosians defence partner Toby Enstrom into the boards. The Coyotes opened the scoring with an Ekman-Larsson wrist shot from the high slot that went in off the post 12:17 into the first period. It took the Jets less than three minutes to respond, as Wheelers shot from the corner hit Coyotes defenceman Michael Stone in the leg and bounced into the net. Smith was distracted earlier in the sequence by Winnipeg forward Dustin Byfuglien, and the Coyotes argued for an interference call. Smith and Coyotes coach Dave Tippett both said they disagreed with the non-call in their post-game comments. "Personally, I think if theres incidental contact in the net and then the puck goes in after, it shouldve been not a penalty, but it shouldnt have been allowed," Smith said. Notes: Jocelyne Larocque of Ste. Anne, Man., a defenceman for Canadas Olympic gold medal-winning womens hockey team, performed the ceremonial puck drop. a The Jets welcomed back Slater, who missed 52 games with a sports hernia, and left-winger Evander Kane, who sat out the last six games before the Olympic break with a hand injury. a The Jets head to Nashville for a one-game road trip on Saturday, while the Coyotes play in Denver Friday night before heading home. a The teams have one remaining meeting, April 1 in Arizona. Custom Tennessee Titans Jerseys
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. Chelsea took until the second half to trouble the leagues bottom team, but Schuerrle then ripped through the defence with ease at Craven Cottage to keep Jose Mourinhos side on track for the title.In the end it can all be about how it ends. So often for the greatest of all time, it is the final chapter in their careers that they struggle with the most. The lines, having come easy for these supreme performers for so long, suddenly look muddled and make no sense. The confident swagger is replaced by anxiety of what comes next. This leads many to tear apart the passionate bond they have created with their team in search for pastures new; a time to flirt with others in a desperate attempt to keep the dream alive for just a little bit longer. Time waits for no one, though, and eventually every athlete is forced into their final act. Having spent much of their career in control, while excelling, it is this chapter where many lose control. After all, for every Derek Jeter, there is a Brett Favre. Steven Gerrards footballing career is not coming to an end but with a remarkable piece of gratitude, his Premier League one is. Gerrard has been the gift that has kept on giving for a generation of Liverpool fans starved of success and too often forced to live in the past. Never blessed with incredible natural ability, Gerrard was the ideal Red, the perfect Liverpool player who went out and made his own moments and because of his incredible self-belief, he has been in the middle of everything great the club has accomplished this century. His latest big moment has come away from the pitch. Gerrard has embraced the final chapter by picking it up before most expected, ensuring he can write it himself. With many of their great rivals winning far more, Liverpool fans were terrified of seeing the image of Gerrard playing for someone else. Yet, this was never going to be a player who would sign for another club and play against Liverpool. The comparisons with Frank Lampard will always exist, after all the two excelled in the league at the same time, playing for England over 100 times each and 59 times together, even though they never came close to clicking as teammates. Lampard has many strengths and is entitled to his own success but make no mistake, there is no chance that Gerrards career would see him playing for another team in the Premier League and going up against Liverpool. He had chances to leave, more than once, during his time and privately, he will have wondered if he made the right choices but it was all of those times in which he said no that has now led him to the most final of yess. It was just time. There are some who have wondered if Steven Gerrard was born twenty years too late. It turned out that he was born right in the middle of greatness on Merseyside. Liverpool Football Club were the kings of English football and would go on to win 10 English titles and four European Cups between 1975 and 1990. It was a time in the world that Gerrard would have loved to play in. Surrounded by genuine superstars, he would have relished being apart of so many massiive occasions.dddddddddddd Liverpool led the way on and off the field during that time and it was no coincidence that trophies came their way because of their work in recruitment. More than anyone, they knew when to let a player leave. Better for someone to go a year early than a year late. Decades on, the team is no longer in a position to have such a stance. When greatness leaves you, sometimes your choices can be more limited. This time, it is their club captain who makes such a decision. Liverpool had offered him a new contract, yet it was one he clearly had decided against taking and no one could blame him for that. Throughout his Liverpool career, Steven George Gerrard was a talisman, a player who scored enormous goals and regularly made a massive difference over the course of 90 minutes. At 34, less and less of these games are happening. He could have accepted the clubs offer and enjoyed scoring more goals against clubs like Leicester, while sitting on the bench to rest weary limbs against others, like Ryan Giggs did in recent years for Manchester United, for example, but he knew the club had an enormous problem with this proposition. No longer close to being a genuine championship contender, Liverpool have no one in their team that they can play in midfield and make people think its a good idea to rest Gerrard. He may be way past his best but it is a true indictment on the club that he remains so valuable to them. It is a responsibility that Gerrard has embraced for years but in recent weeks, it has become a huge burden. Despite his importance, he can no longer be trusted to play deeper because the playmaking role has gone with the absence of genuine top class centre forwards. As the game at Old Trafford last month showed, he is just a vulnerable central midfielder that gets swallowed up by big games, albeit one that can still show rare moments of individual brilliance. Once again, the fact that he wasnt surrounded by top players in a top team hurt him and is now forcing him to move, but as he does, he recognizes his worth to the club and the city. Many a tear will roll down a Scouse cheek in the next six months now that Gerrard has decided to leave Anfield for good but as they wish him well in his next stage abroad, they know he has left as one of them. Fewer and fewer players in all sports have reasons to be so connected with their clubs but for Gerrard and the city of Liverpool, it was the complete opposite. He was one of their own that understood what they felt. For a community that is obsessed about their football club and what it means to play for them, this meant everything to that fan base. Liverpool lost a world-class striker and a Premier League title in 2014. A day into 2015, they are already losing something bigger. Theyll be lucky to find anyone close to another Steven Gerrard at Anfield. A place where hell never walk alone. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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