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Winnipeg Jets finish homestand with shootout loss against Buffalo Sabres

The Winnipeg Jets came up just short in their bid to sweep the four-game homestand.

The Buffalo Sabres came away with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Jets on Friday at Bell MTS Place. The loss ended the Jets’ three-game win streak.

After a scoreless first period, Kyle Connor scored to give the Jets the lead midway through the second frame, but it turned out to be their only marker. The Sabres grabbed the equalizer early in the third and then won it on their seventh shooter in the shootout.

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The Jets went a full 16 straight minutes without registering a shot. They didn’t get a single puck on net in the final six minutes of the second period, and it wasn’t until just past the midway point of the final frame when they next got a shot on goal. After getting 12 shots in the first, the Jets recorded just 13 shots in the second and third periods combined.

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“We had a number of real good opportunities we didn’t either get to the net, or finish on some plays,” head coach Paul Maurice said.

“Then I think we changed our offensive mindset a little bit. They were going to play better than they did in the first. They had a tough start to that game. So they became a little bit better, but still fairly even in the back half of that game. We lessened our opportunity to get that second goal by slowing our offensive game down quite a bit.”

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Both teams, though, struggled to get any momentum in the game whatsoever.

“They were pretty committed to sitting back, trying to obviously limit our speed through the neutral zone,” said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. “For the most part we did a good job, kept our speed and spent a lot of time in their zone. Just getting those quality looks were tough tonight.”

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Wheeler had his career-high 11 game point streak come to an end.

Jeff Skinner scored the only goal for Buffalo and he now has goals in four straight games. Carter Hutton stopped 25 of 26 shots.

After winning his first three starts with the Jets, Laurent Brossoit made 31 saves in taking his first loss. He allowed three goals on seven attempts in the shootout.

“He’s been outstanding ever since training camp,” Wheeler said. “Obviously it was a bit of a question mark coming in, didn’t have a lot of familiarity with him, and he seized that job and ran with it. And has been nothing but outstanding every time he’s been on the ice.”

The Jets finished the homestand by taking seven of a possible eight points.

“It’s a good homestand,” Wheeler said. “Happy with it and move forward.”

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Sami Niku and Brendan Lemieux were both scratched for the Jets. Kristian Vesalainen was called up from the Manitoba Moose earlier on Friday but he was also not in the lineup.

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With the conclusion of the homestand, the Jets now hit the road for their next four games starting on Monday against the Vancouver Canucks.

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