Once again, the Winnipeg Jets did what they’ve been doing so well during the 2021 season – rebound from a loss.
The Jets defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2 Wednesday night, bouncing back in the rematch after a loss to the last place Sens just on Monday.
Like their previous matchup, the Jets looked disjointed for much of the first two periods, but after making a switch to their top two forward lines, the Jets struck for two goals in the final frame to get back in the win column.
“We were able in the third to find a way to get a couple goals and get a win,” said Jets forward Mathieu Perreault. “So, it’s a big win for us, especially after what happened last game. We didn’t really like our game or our effort, so it was a good bounce back game.”
The Jets now have a 6-2 record in eight meetings with Ottawa so far this season.
They’ve still only lost back-to-back games in regulation once this season, now 11-1-2 after a regulation defeat.
“It was a tight game throughout the whole thing,” forward Trevor Lewis said. “We knew they were going to come hard and we needed to keep it simple. You know what, in the third there, a big power-play goal by Frenchie (Mathieu Perreault) that was an awesome shot. Then, obviously with the shorthanded goal, it was a big, big win for us.”
Lewis scored the game winning goal in the third period with Perreault and Mark Scheifele notching the other Jets’ markers in the victory.
Special teams played a big role in the win with the Jets both scoring a power-play goal and a shorthanded marker.
“It wasn’t easy,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “They’ve got their game now to kinda a loose and fast and fairly high risk game. That can be a danger.
“Not an easy one to handle, but a good win.”
Connor Hellebuyck finally got a night off after making seven straight starts. Laurent Brossoit made 27 saves in his first appearance since March 27.
“Getting into a rhythm is a huge help and when you can’t play for a couple weeks, it’s all about your practice habits and whatnot,” said Brossoit. “I was feeling good leading up to this game.”
Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers both extended their point streaks to five games. Ehlers had one assist to also become just the fourth Danish born player to record 300 NHL points.
When things weren’t looking good after 40 minutes, Maurice swapped Andrew Copp and Pierre-Luc Dubois on the top two lines. The Jets ran with a line of Scheifele, Dubois and Kyle Connor, while Paul Stastny moved between Copp and Ehlers in the final frame.
“Just a different presence,” said Maurice. “I know that Copp, Stastny, and Nik Ehlers had some things going for them earlier in the year, so we just put them back, and I thought we were better after that.”
Wednesday’s game picked up where Monday’s left off.
Winnipeg surrendered a number of breakaways in Monday’s loss and less than 90 seconds into the opening frame, the Senators handed the Jets a healthy dose of deja vu.
Nick Paul grabbed a bouncing puck Neal Pionk couldn’t settle down and came in using Evgenii Dadonov as a distraction before snapping home a goal past Brossoit on Ottawa’s second shot of the game.
The 1-0 lead didn’t last long though as Ehlers calmly brought the puck over the line waiting for his teammates to join the rush. Ehlers circled back at the Senators’ goal line before sending a strong backhand pass to a wide open Scheifele for an easy tip-in.
Ottawa clearly has been studying Jets’ game film as their penalty kill had two partial breakaways before the Jets registered a shot with the man advantage. Paul broke up Connor’s pass and fired a wrist shot just over the bar and shortly after, Alex Formenton read the defence pinching, got a step on Pionk and nearly tucked the puck short side on Brossoit.
Studying the second place Jets continued to work wonders for the Senators, stifling every Winnipeg attempt to enter the offensive zone. The Senators routinely had two men attacking the puck carrier within a few feet of the blue line, frustrating the Jets and causing errant passes into skates and resulting in turnovers heading the other way.
The offensive zone trap proved effective for Ottawa, holding the Winnipeg Jets without a goal in the second period, but the strategy unfortunately didn’t result in much offensive production at the other end as the middle frame only saw a few high percentage chances for both teams.
By the third period, Perreault had enough of the 1-1 tie and took matters into his own hands on the power-play. Battling for possession below Ottawa’s goal line, Copp found the puck and got it to an open Perreault along the boards. The Drummondville product looked off a defender, took a few steps towards Sens goalie Matt Murray and fired a wrist shot over his shoulder, obliterating the goaltender’s water bottle giving the Jets a 2-1 lead just a few minutes into the third.
The special teams units played well for both teams tonight, particularly while shorthanded and Lewis continued his stellar play killing penalties. Lewis got behind the defence and grabbed a rolling puck at the faceoff dot before turning back toward Murray and lifting the puck over his left shoulder, giving the Jets some insurance midway through the final frame.
The Jets have two shorthanded goals this year, both scored by Lewis who is one of 15 players in the NHL with at least a pair of shorties this year.
The Senators had a two-man advantage to end the game and Josh Norris unleashed a blur of a one-timer to bring them within one, but that’s as close as they’d get as Brossoit recorded his sixth win of the year. Hellebuyck will patrol the pipes Thursday night as the Jets continue to fight for first place in the North Division against the division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs.
The pregame show will begin at 4 p.m. on 680 CJOB with the puck dropping shortly after 6 p.m.
The Jets look to make up some ground sitting just five points back of the Leafs, but they sit three points ahead of the Oilers for second place.