Wearing their ‘Forty-Eight’ jerseys for the first time to honour the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Winnipeg Jets leaned on a fantastic performance from backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit in a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night.
Brossoit stopped 15 shots in the first period alone, and finished the night with 42 saves as the Jets won their second game in a row after ending their three-game losing skid.
“To be honest, I kinda like getting a lot of shots early and often,” said Brossoit. “It gets me into the game. But we knew they were going to do that. That’s kinda their MO. They throw everything on net, especially in the first period, and they did that tonight. And it got me into the game.”
It took over 16 minutes for the Jets to get their first shot of the game and they only registered three shots on net in the opening frame to tie their season-low for a period. The Hurricanes recorded all of the first 13 shots on goal of the game.
“That’s a great hockey team over there,” said head coach Rick Bowness. “That was a hell of a hockey game, so I’m not worried about the start. Give them credit. We bent a little bit, yeah, but you’re not going to dominate that, you’re not going to go out there and dominate that team. Nobody in this league is going to dominate that team for 60 minutes.”
The shots finished 43-22 for the Hurricanes.
Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers scored goals for the Jets as both also had an assist for two-point nights. Connor had gone six straight games without a goal.
“It’s a huge win,” said Ehlers. “After our three-game losing streak there, to get back, and gets two wins in a row, we needed that. We needed to get back on track and play better, and we’ve done that.
“Do I think we played the perfect game tonight? Absolutely not. But, out goalie stood on his head and even when you don’t play your best, you got to find ways to win, and we were able to do that today against a pretty, pretty good team.”
The loss ended the Hurricanes four-game point streak.
Vladislav Namestnikov missed a second game in row for the Jets with a lower-body injury.
Declan Chisholm stayed in the lineup for Winnipeg after making his season debut on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks as Nate Schmidt was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Logan Stanley was also dressed as they went with an extra blueliner by dressing eleven forwards and seven defencemen.
The visitors started peppering Brossoit right out of the gates as the Jets’ backup goalie made four saves in the first minute and 11 before the first media timeout.
In all, Brossoit stopped all 13 shots he faced before his teammates got even one shot on goal, which came with just 3:29 remaining in the first.
But moments later, a bad Carolina line change sprung Ehlers on a 2-on-1 with Connor. Ehlers slid the puck to his teammate who roofed it past Antti Raanta to give the Jets an improbable 1-0 lead.
For Connor, it was his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
By the time the first period had come to a close, Carolina had a 15-3 advantage in shots on goal but trailed 1-0.
The second period looked like the inverse of the first, at least to start, as Winnipeg outshot the Hurricanes 8-1 in the first 3:30, aided by the conclusion of a power play that began in the final minute of the opening frame.
Carolina began to push back, leading to a Brent Burns wrist shot that rang off the crossbar but the game stayed 1-0 until the Jets’ top line struck in transition.
After carrying the puck into the Carolina end, Mark Scheifele, dropped the puck off to Connor at the blue line. Connor then fed it back to Scheifele in the corner before he sent a perfect pass to the slot where Ehlers was waiting to rip a shot over Raanta to double Winnipeg’s lead with 8:21 left in the second.
Carolina finally got on the board with under a minute to go in the period. Martin Necas attempted a wraparound, but the puck slid off his blade towards the front of the net. However, as Dylan DeMelo skated across the crease to try and block the attempt, the puck bounced off his foot and slid into the net to make it a 2-1 game with 50.7 seconds to go in the middle frame.
The Hurricanes managed to outshoot the Jets 14-13 in the second and through 40 minutes had a 29-16 advantage.
Carolina earned their third power play of the game just over six minutes into the third but the Jets killed it off, just like they did for the first two.
Connor got a great chance to restore the two-goal lead with just under seven minutes to go but Raanta denied him on a breakaway after Burns slashed Connor, breaking Burns’ stick but no call was made.
Moments later, Connor had a fantastic chance in the slot but his shot was deflected by the stick of a Hurricanes defender.
As Carolina attempted to pull Raanta for an extra attacker, the puck bounced out of the Winnipeg end and towards the vacated net. Raanta decided to turn away from the bench and attack the loose puck as Ehlers chased it down for Winnipeg. Raanta poke-checked Ehlers just inside the Carolina blue line as Ehlers tried to make a move around the goalie.
With Raanta finally on the bench, Connor had a great look to end it but his shot was steered away by the stick of a diving Brady Skjei.
As was the story of the game, however, Carolina just couldn’t find a way past Brossoit as he closed the door in the final seconds to seal the win. The backup made 42 saves in his best performance of the season.
The Jets will now embark on a four-game road trip beginning in Colorado on Thursday.