Jets’ depth gets the job done against Coyotes

The Winnipeg Jets have been a star-driven team this season, so if a big night from the support staff is a harbinger of things to come, watch out.

The Jets completed a home-and-home sweep of the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, downing their opponents 4-1 at the Bell MTS Centre after beating them by the same count on Saturday in Arizona. Before puck drop, Winnipeg — which has earned at least a point in 11 of its past 12 outings — honoured one of its all-timers by inducting Dale Hawerchuk into its Hall of Fame. For the most part, the Jets have relied on the scoring exploits of their Hawerchuk-type talents, guys like Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine.

Against the Coyotes, though, Winnipeg was defined by the contributions of third- and fourth-liners like Andrew Copp, Joel Armia and Adam Lowry — all of whom hit the back of the net — and the fine goaltending of Connor Hellebuyck.

The first period was a prime example of what the bottom half of the lineup can bring. After Hellebuyck’s strong play helped Winnipeg kill off a pair of penalties, Copp opened the scoring by plucking a dump-in off the wall, taking the puck to the goal past Coyotes defenceman Dakota Mermis and banging his own rebound past goalie Antti Raanta.

No finesse or razzle-dazzle: just the kind of hard, greasy play the Jets needed on a night when Laine’s five-game goal-scoring streak came to an end and both Wheeler and Scheifele were held off the scoresheet.

“To win games, you’ve got to get [scoring] from other places,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. “The way Andrew scored the first one, just driving it to the net. [The line of Lowry between Copp and Brandon Tanev] had a lot of good offensive zone time early in the game.

“They also, at times, have to go and play against the other team’s best when Scheif’s line is not doing that job. They look like they have something good going on there.”

For the first time in a while, Bryan Little had something undeniably positive to put his arms around, too. The centre hadn’t found the net in 11 games and was sitting on just a single tally this season until he knocked the puck off Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s stick at the Winnipeg blue line, raced down the ice and fired a shot past Raanta’s glove hand to give the Jets a 3-0 advantage 5:08 into the middle frame.

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Source:: – Sports news


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