A personal drought ended Thursday night for Jets defenceman Keaton Ellerby.
His one-timer from inside the blue-line tied the game 2-2 during the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks, his first goal in 104 games, since March 17, 2011 vs. Toronto, that an empty-netter, he said.
"It's always nice to contribute offensively but I was minus-1 on the night so that's a little bit disappointing," Ellerby said after the 6-3 defeat to the Hawks.
Still, Ellerby looked more than relieved after he put his fourth career NHL goal past goalie Corey Crawford.
"I think it's a lot of built-up adrenaline," the 25-year-old defenceman said. "You don't score too many goals, your celebrations seem to be a little excessive. It was exciting, but as I said all along, it wasn't the result we wanted."
In nine games for the Jets since being claimed on waivers from the Kings, Ellerby has seen his ice time gradually increase. He's played at least 19 minutes in each of the last four games, including Thursday.
But the Hawks dampened any of the optimism Ellerby was carrying.
"They bring 60 minutes every night," he said. "They grind through everything. They get pucks deep. They bang and crash. Get a lot of pucks on net. They go to those hard places and get rewarded for it.
"You've got to learn from it and move on to the next game."
There's nothing new to report in the injuries to Paul Postma (blood clot), Jim Slater (sports hernia) or Zach Bogosian (groin).
But there are growing signs the returns of defencemen Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba will come soon.
Stuart might have played Thursday night against Chicago, but coach Claude Noel said he wanted yet to see a bit more from the veteran defenceman in practice.
Stuart has missed 10 games with a hip issue.
And Trouba, the rookie, who has missed 16 games since crashing headfirst into the boards on Oct. 18, practised again with the team on Thursday morning. There's a growing expectation he'll be back in action within the next week.
Easier said than done
Doing is definitely the hard part.
The Jets knew the best way to be competitive against the Hawks heading into Thursday's game.
"You have to make the for-sure play," said right-winger Devin Setoguchi. "There are going to be accidents in the game and turnovers, but you just have to make sure if the play's there, to make it. When you're playing these good teams, that's what happens, you make mistakes... you just have to make sure you're confident in the way we play and if the play's there, make it."