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Jets conclude preseason with 3-0 loss to Senators

Icing a lineup that should closely resemble their opening night lineup in Calgary next week, the Winnipeg Jets fell to the Ottawa Senators 3-0 in a penalty-filled game Thursday night.

After a slow start to the game for both sides, the Jets had to endure a tough moment with just over six minutes left in the first when defenceman Ville Heinola, who looked to be set to make the team, collided with Erik Brannstrom and went into the boards awkwardly. He couldn’t put any weight on his left leg as he tried, but failed to get up.

Officials blew the play dead before Heinola was helped off the ice and gingerly made his way down the tunnel to the locker room. He did not return to the ice for the rest of the game and it appears he’ll be out long-term with what looked like an ankle injury.

“It’s not good,” Jets head coach Rick Bowness told reporters after the game. “We’ll have more information on it tomorrow. So there’ll be another analysis and they’ll look at it, but it’s not a short-term injury.”

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Claude Giroux, Josh Bailey, and Jakob Chychrun scored goals for the Sens. The Jets gave the Senators seven power play opportunities and were shorthanded for 10 minutes in the final stanza alone.

“We lost our discipline more than anything,” Bowness said. “From that, a little frustration builds in as the (third) period went along. And it continued into taking more penalties.

“You want to see some flow to your game. You want to see the chemistry develop in your lines and its power play after power play and we didn’t get that at all. So, it is what it is, and we’ll have three days of practice to continue to work on that.”

With just over three minutes to go in the opening frame, the visitors got on the board first. After the Jets turned the puck over in the neutral zone, Brady Tkachuk sprung Giroux on a breakaway and the veteran made no mistake, putting a sweet deke on Connor Hellebuyck before sliding the puck into the open net.

Shots on goal were not plentiful in the first 20 minutes, with Ottawa outshooting Winnipeg 6-5. Both sides had an unsuccessful power play, with Winnipeg carrying a second chance into the second period when Ridly Greig took a penalty with eight seconds to go in the first.

While Winnipeg couldn’t convert on that chance, they would get two more opportunities not long after, including 31 seconds of 5-on-3 time, but again they could not solve Anton Forsberg.

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The Jets best chance came with just over seven minutes left in the period when Mason Appleton intercepted a pass and skated in alone on Forsberg. He tried to shoot it high over the goalie’s glove but instead Forsberg made the glove save to keep Winnipeg off the board.

Ottawa would get the next chance with the man advantage when Nino Niederreiter took a holding penalty with 4:34 to go. As the penalty was nearing its end, Neal Pionk tripped a Senator in the corner and with his penalty pending, a bouncing puck found its way to Bailey who beat Hellebuyck to make it 2-0.

The goal was scored right as Niederreiter’s penalty ended so Pionk did not have to serve his penalty.

Shots on goal were even at 19 as Ottawa took the two-goal lead into the third and had a chance to build on it when Niederreiter took his second penalty just over a minute in but the Jets managed to kill it off.

The Jets penalty kill kept busy as the period rolled along, killing off a Pionk trip and a Vladislav Namestnikov slash before 10 minutes had even elapsed.

But a Mark Scheifele unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as the Namestnikov minor expired proved a bridge too far as Chychrun snapped one high over Hellebuyck from the slot to make it 3-0 at the 10:28 mark.

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Josh Morrissey joined the parade to the penalty box with 6:08 to go as Winnipeg had yet to register a shot on goal in the period.

Winnipeg killed that off but not long after, Scheifele was caught high by a Parker Kelly hit. Scheifele didn’t like it, slashing Kelly and dropping his gloves to go after him before officials intervened. Both players earned a pair of penalties on the play.

The Jets finally recorded their first shot on goal of the third period with 1:58 to go, a harmless wrister that was gloved down by Forsberg, who would not be beaten on the night, stopping all 21 shots he faced for the shutout. Hellebuyck turned aside 30 shots in defeat.

The Jets will now make final roster decisions over the weekend before opening the regular season Wednesday night in Calgary.

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