They needed him in the start. They needed him in the middle. They needed him in the end. Andrew Ladd was there each and every time. He's your captain. He's your best player. In many ways, he's the Winnipeg Jets.

Ladd got his Jets on the board first, helped on his team's second goal, scored their third and final marker in regulation and then popped the silencer in the shootout as Winnipeg took a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Ladd's performance was both heroic and effective. The heroism is nice but at this time of the year it's the result that matters most and Ladd made sure his work counted for something.

He was a bull, he was a safecracker but most of all he was a winner. The Jets can't live on anything but the blood of wins right now. Ladd gave them a super-oxygenated transfusion like only he has been able to this season.

Over the last four games, all of them wins for the Jets, Ladd has collected eight points and been at his very best.

If the Jets advance into the post-season, much of it will be because Andrew Ladd has had the season of his career. With 18 goals and 23 assist, Ladd now has 41 points in 43 games and is the Jets' leading scorer by a long shot. He's been consistent on a team that sometimes has been unable to spell the word, let alone live it.

There has been no wavering in Ladd. He's led from post to post and done it all.

When he's skating and hitting, he's almost always scoring. On those nights, the Jets have their best chance of winning.

When Ladd can't get it going, the Jets might has well stay in the dressing room. He has been that good and, as a result, that important.

Lots was said last season about the Winnipeg Jets not having a legitimate NHL first line. Maybe they still don't but they sure as hell have a first-line left-winger. Ladd could skate with any top line in the NHL. He's a complete player with both teeth and touch in his game.