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Winnipeg Jets get back on track with 3-0 win over Washington

With Tyler Toffoli and Colin Miller making their debuts with their new team, the Winnipeg Jets flushed a bad loss in Vancouver by blanking the Washington Capitals 3-0 Monday night in the Manitoba capital.

The Jets scored once in each period with nine different players recording a point. Their top three forward lines all figured in on the scoring as they bounced back from arguably their worst performance of the season.

“They weren’t very happy with our game in Vancouver,” said head coach Rick Bowness. “They knew they had to bounce back and they did. It was a solid team effort tonight, so that’s what it takes.

“The big thing was we defended much better. We stayed above them. We slowed them down a little bit when we could. We didn’t let them dictate the pace of the game like we did in Vancouver.”

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The Jets registered 11 of the first 13 shots of the game.

“We got off to a better start,” said Jets captain Adam Lowry. “We really got behind the eight-ball against Vancouver and tonight I think our first 10 minutes were great. We had some chances. We got the lead which is kinda new for us. We haven’t been scoring a whole lot in the first period. I think as the game went on we just kept chipping away and kinda imposing our style as opposed to try to play theirs.”

Toffoli made his Jets’ debut on the second line with Sean Monahan and Alex Iafallo. Toffoli didn’t have a point but had several dangerous chances with three shots on goal in a little over 15 minutes of ice time.

“He’s a smart player,” said Monahan. “He finds the soft areas. Obviously a great goal scorer. I mean, a huge addition here for our team.”

Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 23 shots for his second shutout in his last 10 starts and fourth of the season. It was also his 30th win of the campaign to set a new Jets’ franchise record for fewest games to 30 wins (47), besting his own record of 48 games from the 2017-2018 season. It’s his fifth career 30-win season.

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The Jets dominated the opening stretch against Washington, outshooting the visitors 8-1 in the first six minutes and just past the midway point, Winnipeg opened the scoring thanks to an unlikely source.

After Brenden Dillon kept the puck in at the point and the Jets won a puck battle, the puck came down the boards to Mason Appleton. He found Neal Pionk cutting to the net and fed the defenceman before he beat Charlie Lindgren to snap a 20-game goalless drought.

Winnipeg carried that 1-0 lead and a 12-5 edge in shots on goal into the middle frame.

Washington started to generate more opportunities but 8:16 into the period, a point shot from Josh Morrissey deflected off the stick of Iafallo in front and through Lindgren to make it 2-0.

The Jets could have led by more but hit the post three times in the second as it stayed 2-0 heading to the final frame.

Washington was given the first power play of the night when Miller, playing in his first game as a Jet, was called for slashing. The Capitals got a couple shots on goal but couldn’t beat Hellebuyck as the Jets killed off the penalty.

It wasn’t long after that Winnipeg put the game away thanks to their top line.

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Right at the midway point of the third, Nikolaj Ehlers sprung Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor on a two-on-one. Scheifele carried the puck into the Washington end and drew the defender toward himself before sending a perfect pass to Connor, who redirected it through Lindgren to make it 3-0 with 10 minutes to go.

Winnipeg failed on their lone power play chance in the final minutes but it did little to sour the mood at Canada Life Centre.

It was the second time in just three games that Winnipeg allowed no goals after Laurent Brossoit shutout Seattle on Friday night.

Nate Schmidt, Rasmus Kupari, and David Gustafsson all came out of the lineup, while Cole Perfetti returned after one game as a healthy scratch. Gabriel Vilardi missed his sixth straight contest with an upper-body injury.

The Jets will look to make it two wins in a row when they host Nashville Wednesday night. The pregame show begins at 4:30 p.m. on 680 CJOB with puck drop just after 6:30 p.m.

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Where do the Jets Stand in Winnipeg?

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