The Winnipeg Jets welcomed the Ottawa Senators to Bell MTS Place Saturday afternoon in a 1:00 PM, all-Canadian matinee contest. The teams combined for a fiery, testosterone-filled game that saw four players involved in fights, 39 hits, seven goals and one hat trick.
The Jets came out on top, with Patrik Laine, Neal Pionk and Laurent Brossoit leading the way. Laine had three power play goals for his eighth career hat trick, Poink had a goal and two assists, while Brossoit turned aside 32 shots in the win. Winnipeg improved its record to 28-23-5 on the season.
Winnipeg opened the scoring 8:48 into the game, as first-year Jets blueliner Neal Pionk stepped into a one-timer from the point that beat Craig Anderson cleanly short side. Kyle Connor and Mason Appleton picked up assists on the game’s opening goal. It was Pionk’s sixth tally of the season.
Nick Paul and Nathan Beaulieu threw down in a scrap early into the contest, before Blake Wheeler stepped in and dropped the mitts with Brady Tkachuk, following a hard, dangerous Tkachuk hit on a defenceless Pionk. Winnipeg outshot Ottawa 11-10 through 20 minutes of play.
The Senators came out firing to start the second period, however, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau collected his 21stgoal of the season on a nice chip play that found its way past Laurent Brossoit high, glove side just 25 seconds into the middle stanza. Pageau’s goal tied the game at ones just moments into the period.
After the Jets killed off an auspicious Nikolaj Ehlers tripping minor, Ehlers – fresh out of the box – collected a loose puck and found a streaking Kyle Connor cross-ice. Connor walked in and fired his 26thof the season past Anderson, restoring Winnipeg’s slight lead with 12:11 to play.
With Mike Reilly in the box for hooking, Patrik Laine scored his 21stof the season just 21 seconds into the power play, collecting a rebound off of a Neal Pionk point shot. After Anderson stopped the original shot, Kyle Connor dished the puck to Laine, who crept down from his normal spot, to put it into the open net from the goal line.
Just a minute-and-a-half later, Pionk gave the Sens an easy one, as he flubbed his breakout pass from behind the net, which landed on Mikkel Boedker’s stick, who put it into the Jets’ open net, bringing the visitors once again to within one goal of Winnipeg.
But with Thomas Chabot in the box for hooking, Laine found his second power play goal of the day, redirecting a Pionk point shot through a maze of bodies and past the Senators’ goalkeeper, restoring the Jets’ two-goal differential. Through 40 minutes, Winnipeg outshot its Eastern Conference opponents 22-19.
After giving up four goals on 22 shots, Craig Anderson saw his afternoon come to an early end, as Marcus Hogberg was given the start in the third period for Ottawa. Hogberg did well considering his situation, only giving up one goal, the dagger to Laine.
Following a strong Laine backcheck, the Finnish winger jumped up on a four-on-one, where Connor and Wheeler combined to set up the sniper with his third power play goal of the game. It was his eighth career hat trick, and first since his five-goal outing against the St. Louis Blues on November 24, 2018.
Laurent Brossoit stopped 25 of 27 shots, while Ottawa goaltenders combined to make 29 saves on 34 shots.
The Jets will now look to continue their winning ways as the Chicago Blackhawks make their way to Bell MTS Place Sunday for a 6:00 PM Central Division matchup. Saturday’s game marked the start of a six-game homestand in which the Jets will also face New York, San Jose, Chicago X2 and Los Angeles. Sunday’s game can be viewed live on Sportsnet.