Back to back wins over Arizona Coyotes for Winnipeg Jets as they salute Dale Hawerchuk
WINNIPEG – With a second straight victory the Winnipeg Jets swept a home and home with the Arizona Coyotes.
The Jets beat the Coyotes 4-1 for the second straight game on Tuesday at Bell MTS Place. The Jets have now gained at least a single point in 10 of their last 11 games.
“I’m happy with the game.” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said. “I know that from the outside, you look at the record and say that’s a must win, should win game, but they’ve lost three of their last six in terms of hockey and two of them went to us and the other one was to Pittsburgh. They’ve played well in the 5-on-5 parts of their game.”
On a night where the hockey club was honouring one of their all-time greats, the Jets had goals from Andrew Copp, Joel Armia, Bryan Little and Adam Lowry. But it was the penalty kill that provided the boost after the Jets killed off three penalties in the first period.
“I thought the guys just did a great job of being aggressive.” Little said. “There’s a lot of good blocked shots. Our forwards especially got in the lanes pretty good.”
It was a bounce back performance for Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck who was coming off his worst outing of the season. After getting pulled in Vegas Hellebuyck stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced.
“This was definitely my redemption game.” Hellebuyck said. “Anytime you get pulled you have to enter strong, and I’m glad the guys played well in front of me.”
“That was the first time that he probably got off the ice and didn’t like his performance.” Maurice said. “So he comes right back and settles in and that’s mentally important for him.”
WATCH: Winnipeg Jets Post Game Reaction
Prior to puck drop the Jets saluted one of their all-time fan favourites. Former Jets captain Dale Hawerchuk was officially inducted into the Winnipeg Jets Hall Of Fame. Fans gave him a standing ovation to chants of “Ducky”.
Hawerchuk is the fourth player in the Jets Hall Of Fame and his number 10 now hangs in the rafters at Bell MTS Place alongside Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson.
WATCH: Dale Hawerchuk Interview
The Jets struck for the game’s first goal just over 15 minutes into the contest. Copp skated out from behind the net with the puck. He was rebuffed on his first attempt but he shoveled in his own rebound past Antii Raanta. Copp’s third goal of the season was assisted by Lowry and Dmitry Kulikov and the Jets had a one goal lead after 20 minutes. The Jets killed off three penalties in the first period as they were outshot 13-9.
The Jets added to their lead less than two minutes into the middle frame. Armia stepped over the blueline and with only one man left to beat he fired the long shot by Raanta. Nikolaj Ehlers and Josh Morrissey had the assists on Armia’s third goal of the year.
Just three minutes later the Jets went ahead by three goals. Little stripped the puck from Oliver Ekman-Larsson at the Jets’ blueline and waltzed in on the clear cut breakaway. Little buried the shot for just his second goal of the season, ending an 11 game goal scoring drought. The goal was unassisted and that was the end of the line for Raanta as he was replaced in the Coyotes’ goal by Scott Wedgewood.
With just under eight minutes left in the period the Jets had the Coyotes hemmed into their own zone. After several quality scoring chances Lowry picked the top corner on Wedgewood for his second goal of the season. The goal was assisted by Tyler Myers and it was a four goal Jets lead.
The Coyotes broke up Hellebuyck’s shutout bid midway through the third period. From the blueline Alex Goligoski sneaked a shot past a screened Hellebuyck. Tobias Rieder had the only assist on Goligoski’s second tally of the campaign but that would close out the scoring.
Mathieu Perreault, Ben Chiarot and Marko Dano were all scratched for Winnipeg.
The Jets continue their three game homestand on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Flyers forward Nolan Patrick of Winnipeg has been out of the lineup since October with a concussion but could return to face his hometown team.
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