Jets dominate Coyotes
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- On a night when the Winnipeg Jets celebrated their past, the team of the present put on an impressive display to give their fans hope for the immediate future with a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.
From the second the opening puck was dropped, just moments after the No. 10 banner honoring Dale Hawerchuk from Jets 1.0 fame was raised to the rafters of Bell MTS Place, the new Jets gave the old Jets a lesson in virtually all assets of the game.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 33 shots in the Jets net for his ninth win of the season. Antti Raanta stopped 10 of 13 shots before giving way to Scott Wedgewood, who stopped 16 of 17.
The Jets opened the scoring innocently enough in the first period when center Andrew Copp won a battle along the boards against Coyotes defenseman Dakota Mermis, cut in front of Raanta and ripped his own rebound over the goalie's blocker at 15:30. His third of the season was assisted by fellow center Adam Lowry and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
The Jets doubled the lead early in the second frame on one of the weirdest plays you'll see. The puck came to left winger Nikolaj Ehlers in the Jets zone seconds after the blade on one of his skates broke or slipped off. Unable to skate, he flipped the puck high into the air. Right winger Joel Armia cradled the alley-oop outside the Coyotes' blueline as Ehlers made it to the Jets bench on his one good blade.
Armia skated in and used defenseman Luke Schenn as a screen to snap home his third of the season at 1:43.
Jets center Bryan Little kept the momentum going when he picked the pocket of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson at the Jets' blue line and went in all alone against Raanta before snapping his second of the season low to the glove side at 5:08.
That was enough for Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet, who pulled the Finnish netminder in favor of Wedgewood.
But instead of the usual push after letting down their goalie, the Coyotes proceeded to get hemmed in their own zone for what seemed like an eternity.
Right winger Patrik Laine got his stick on a bobbled hand pass by Ekman-Larsson, deflecting it to center Adam Lowry, who ripped his second over Raanta's glove hand to give the Jets a 4-0 lead at 12:39.
The Coyotes broke the shutout bid of Hellebuyck when defenseman Alex Goligoski took an innocent-looking wrister from the point that made its way through a slew of bodies and into the Jets net at 5:21 of the third for his second of the season.
NOTES: The Jets retired Dale Hawerchuk's No. 10 in a 20-minute pre-game ceremony. He had 929 points in 713 games for Jets 1.0. ... With the retirement of Coyotes C Shane Doan prior to this season, there are no more members of Jets 1.0 playing in the NHL. ... The Jets beat the Coyotes 4-1 on Saturday in Arizona. ... The Jets assigned LW Brendan Lemieux to the Manitoba Moose. He played his first seven NHL games, scoring one goal, this year. ... Coyotes LW Max Domi is the son of former NHLer Tie Domi, who played three seasons for the original Jets in the 1990s. ... Coyotes LW Jordan Martinook was born in Brandon, Manitoba, located two hours west of Winnipeg.