The Winnipeg Jets have earned their first win of 2020. Following a stretch of hockey that saw just one win in past six contests, the Jets came out to play Monday evening in Quebec, exacting revenge on a Montreal Canadiens team that had beaten Winnipeg in late December.
After welcoming Mathieu Perreault back to the lineup on New Year’s Eve, the Jets also had fellow forward Andrew Copp back in the lineup Monday evening, for his first game since suffering an injury on December 17. Copp’s return couldn’t come soon enough, as Winnipeg used his fresh legs to score the eventual game-winner, as he outworked a Habs’ blueliner en route to his sixth goal of the season Monday.
The Jets jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 4:46 into the second period of play, as Josh Morrissey scored on a seeing-eye point shot 1:32 into the middle stanza, before Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler combined for a sweet two-on-none breakaway passing play whilst shorthanded on a Mathieu Perreault hooking minor just 2:14 later.
After former Jet Ben Chiarot blasted his sixth of the season past fellow teammate Connor Hellebuyck from tight quarters, Copp outmuscled his defender, en route to a strong drive to the net. While being hauled down from behind, the 25-year-old managed to tuck the disc past Carey Price and into the Montreal net, upping Winnipeg’s lead to 3-1 with 9:44 left to play in the third period.
Much to the joy of teammates and those gathered at the Bell Centre, Chiarot roasted his former team once again on another powerful shot, bringing Montreal to within one goal of the Jets just 1:31 after Copp’s strike. Although making it close, the Canadiens ultimately fell to the Jets, as the home team was unable to muster anything worthy of a solid scoring chance, even on a late man advantage as Luca Sbisa sat in the visitors’ penalty box with three minutes remaining.
Connor Hellebuyck – despite many adventures outside the blue paint – played a solid game, turning aside 29 of 31 shots against, while Price allowed three goals against on 27 Winnipeg shots. Blake Wheeler had two assists, while Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and an assist for the Jets in their 23rd win of the season.
Winnipeg will now travel to Toronto for another rematch as the Jets look to do battle with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, before travelling to Boston for yet another Eastern Conference road matchup Thursday. Winnipeg will return home on Sunday, January 12 for a battle with the currently coachless Nashville Predators. Wednesday’s contest with the Leafs will be available to view on Sportsnet at 6:30 PM central.