Jets bounce back with another comeback win
A night after falling to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a lackluster effort, the Jets bounced back Tuesday in Ottawa with their second comeback victory of the young season.
"The late comeback wins have a really nice impact on your team,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “You carry those for a number of games. You always feel you have a chance.”
Through three games the Jets have not held a lead in regulation, yet, they’re 2-1-0. With some key pieces already out of the lineup, Maurice attributes the ability to stay in games and ultimately prevail when trailing to the leadership on the Jets bench.
“Things haven’t changed for us year over year. We’ve added some players for sure, but get into this season and the back-to-back games with key people out of our lineup, we know we’ve got some challenges on our blue line right now,” said Maurice.
“Staying in the fight, that’s the most important piece for any team. The score and the clock doesn’t dictate your effort level, your compete level and maybe more importantly than all of it, your belief. That’s the foundation that’s most important to our team.”
Mirroring their season-opening contest with the Flames, the Jets fell behind 3-1 out of the gate before storming back to win the contest.
After Kyle Connor cut the Senators lead to one with his third goal of the season, Blake Wheeler’s tip of a Josh Morrissey point shot with just over one minute left to play sent the game to overtime.
“To be completely honest, my stick was just sitting there and it hit me on the way,” said Wheeler. “That was one of those weird ones where I didn’t really do much. It just hit me and went in. But it was a big goal nonetheless. Obviously it came at a key time.”
In the extra frame Morrissey was creating magic again, sending a pass from the defensive zone off the far boards and onto the stick of Andrew Copp who quickly found a streaking Nikolaj Ehlers for the game winner.
"It shows we don't give up, we find ways,” said Ehlers. “We work hard to stay in the game and give ourselves the chance to score that tying goal and get ourselves a chance to get two points."
On paper, the goal was Ehlers first career overtime strike, but the 24-year old remembers an incident from his rookie season against the Colorado Avalanche.
“My first year here, an own goal against Colorado,” he said "Personally it's very nice to not just get one in OT, but get the first of the year and try to keep it going from there. We battled our asses off to stay in the game and get a chance to get the tying goal to get us a point or two. It feels good to have the two points and I look forward to the next game."
Laurent Brossoit made his first start since February 25, stopping 38 shots in the victory.
“Early, the first half of this game, Ottawa came out really, really strong. It seemed like they wanted to take advantage of the fact we had two games in two nights. I usually like to get a lot of action early to get me into it. I usually like a little bit more rest in between shots but it did get me in the game and got me juiced up,” said Brossoit.
“We weathered the storm and once that happened, we started to push and we have enough veterans and enough skill that it always feels like we have a chance.”
After a rough night in Toronto the night prior, it was nice to see the Jets rebound from a slow start, clawing their way back into the contest and eventually picking up the two points.
"We watched some video [Tuesday morning] and it wasn't the way we wanted to play the game. It didn't fit into the culture we've established here in Winnipeg,” said Wheeler.
“Just some of the nuances, staying connected on the ice, helping each other out, giving each other easy outs, just little things that make things easier for everyone. We were much better in that area [Tuesday]."
However, some troubling trends are developing such as their efforts on special teams. The Jets have converted on two of their 13 power play opportunities (15.4%) and have allowed four power play goals on nine opportunities (55.6%).
The Jets and Senators will meet again in Ottawa on Thursday.