On Sunday evening from Bell MTS Place, the visitors proved their worth with yet another strong road effort, ultimately losing for the first time this season, 3-1 to the Jets on an exceptionally tight, offence-heavy inter-conference matchup.
Coming off a 57 shot performance in their overtime victory Saturday evening in Minnesota, the Hurricanes brought their offensive onslaught to Winnipeg in a Sunday evening contest from Bell MTS Place.
The Metropolitan Division-leading Canes exploded for 18 shots on the Jets’ net in the opening frame, but backup netminder Laurent Brossoit – who was making his first start of the season, and first as a Jet – came up huge in the first 20 minutes, blocking, kicking, catching and swatting everything away that came anywhere near the cage.
Brossoit’s two finest pieces of work came off of Mark Scheifele and Tyler Myers giveaways. After Myers coughed the puck while on the power play on the attacking zone blueline, Sebastian Aho took the disc in all alone, but Brossoit stood the his ground, steering aside the young speedster’s breakway chance.
Then on a brutal Scheifele defensive zone shorthanded giveaway, Brossoit stayed cool, calm and collected, robbing rookie Martin Necas with his glove from point-blank range. Other than two brilliant one-timer chances off the sticks of Jack Roslovic and Mark Schiefele, Winnipeg had a period to forget early Sunday evening.
There were a handful of other changes for the Jets over the weekend, as earlier in the day Sunday, it was announced that the club had Waived forward Marko Dano, allowing the possibility for another NHL club to grab him on the Waiver wire in exchange for absolutely nothing. Dano was a key piece in the Andrew Ladd trade .
The Jets also debuted their new ‘Aviator’ third sweaters on Sunday, marking the first of 14 such home games in which Winnipeg will wear their new third jerseys in 2018-19.
Dustin Byfuglien also missed his first game of the season Sunday, after the veteran blueliner suffered an upper-body injury in Saturday’s team skate. Dmitry Kulikov drew into the lineup for the big bruiser.
Laurent Brossoit looked phenomenal in net after starting the game with a couple mis-handles of the puck behind Winnipeg’s net. He stopped 18 shots through 20 minutes, giving Jets fans reason to believe in their predetermined ‘backup’. Heading into Sunday’s contest, Brossoit helds a 7-8-1 record over his last two seasons with the Edmonton Oilers.
The Jets more or less seemed to wake up in the second period, picking up the first three shots of the frame, including a Patrik Laine point-blank opportunity from the low slot. Mark Scheifele also rattled the puck off the post in the early going. Incredibly, Mrazek stoned Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers on a rare two-on-none. Following up on the missed opportunity was Jets’ d-man Joe Morrow whose shot clanked off the crossbar.
The game somehow remained scoreless through 40 minutes of play, only due to the incredible netminding performances at both ends of the rink. Through two periods, Brossoit had 32 saves, while Mrazek had 19.
It took until the 45th minute of the game for the first goal to be scored. Following a Jordan Staal solo rush opportunity that went square off the post, the 30-year-old Thunder Bay native was charged with a two-minute holding minor. On the ensuing man advantage, Patrik Laine and the Jets blew the roof off Bell MTS Place with a patented Patrik Laine power play strike from the left circle.
Following a wide Morrissey shot attempt, captain Blake Wheeler quickly slid the puck cross-ice to a wide open Laine, who made no mistake hammering his second goal of the season past a largely out of position Petr Mrazek.
Although scoring first, Winnipeg held the lead for just four minutes, as Swan River native and former Brandon Wheat King Michael Ferland tied the game up for the visitors with an easy tap in. With former Calgary Flames teammate Dougie Hamilton receiving a Sebastian Aho pass before stepping up in the Canes’ offensive zone and trickling one past Brossoit, Ferland ended up in the right place at the right time, easily tapping the rolling puck into Winnipeg’s net with 12 minutes remaining in the third.
The high-energy back-and-forth contest continued without a goal until the two-minute mark, as a pinching Josh Morrissey found Bryan Little on a perfect cross ice pass deep in the Hurricanes’ zone. Little immediately released the puck into the back of the net on a perfectly placed wrister that beat Mrazek cleanly, bringing the home crowd to its feet once again.
Carolina pulled its goaltender for the extra attacker, but it was all for naught, as Kyle Connor potted his fourth goal of the campaign on a buzzer beater with 0.4 seconds left in the game.
Winnipeg’s win began a six-game homestand at Bell MTS Place, as the Jets now dress every second day for the next two weeks, including a Tuesday night contest with the visiting Edmonton Oilers, and a Thursday evening showdown with the Vancouver Canucks. Puckdrop for both games is slotted for 7:00 P.M. central. Both contests can be caught live on TSN3.