Lowry working with new ‘mates

Due to injuries, third line a work in progress

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Adam Lowry’s season got off to a rocky start — 14 games without a point — but things turned around when Bryan Little was forced out of the lineup with injury and the changes trickled down to the third line.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/12/2019 (1077 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Adam Lowry’s season got off to a rocky start — 14 games without a point — but things turned around when Bryan Little was forced out of the lineup with injury and the changes trickled down to the third line.

When he found himself between Mathieu Perreault and Andrew Copp, it started to click. Lowry scored in the team’s 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 8 — with Copp and Perreault both picking up assists — and continued for the 16 games played with the pair. Lowry scored four goals and earned four assists.

Unfortunately, after starting the week with Perreault and Copp, Lowry is left as the lone man standing.

John Woods / The Canadian Press Winnipeg Jets’ Adam Lowry (from left) celebrates Andrew Copp’s game-winning goal last month with Mathieu Perreault.

Perreault is in concussion protocol after taking a high hit against Philadelphia on Sunday. In the very next game, Copp would join Perreault on the sideline as he fell awkwardly into the boards after attempting a hit on Carolina’s Jordan Staal on Tuesday.

Perreault’s timetable is unknown, but head coach Paul Maurice said before last night’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks that the veteran forward hasn’t had any setbacks since the hit, and the Jets plan to get him back on the ice for practice soon. Copp, on the other hand, will miss at least four weeks before the team starts looking at his return.

Due to the circumstances, the third line got thrown into the blender, while also costing the Jets a key penalty killer in Copp and a forward on the second power-play unit in Perreault. In the first game without both, Lowry was put with Gabriel Bourque and Mason Appleton, who was recently called up from the Manitoba Moose.

“It’s gonna be different. It’s almost the Copp-Lowry tandem that defines the line,” Maurice said after the morning skate. “When you go back over the last two or three years, we’ve used a bunch of different kinds of players in there and they’ve always been effective because those two guys are so consistent with their style. It changes now. How you run the bench changes a little bit with that, too, but that’s true with all injuries. It forces you to make some adjustments.”

The injuries could provide Appleton with an opportunity to get his NHL career on track. He made the team out of training camp, but was extremely quiet in nine games of action as all he had was two penalty minutes to his name. Appleton found himself as a healthy scratch before he broke a bone in his foot while tossing around a football at Mosaic Stadium prior to the Heritage Classic. After spending the past four games with the Moose, where he registered one assist, Appleton is back with the big club and has put his slow start behind him.

“I thought I built on it for sure,” Appleton said Thursday morning on his play at the beginning of the season. “I was kind of finding my groove, then I got hurt a little bit there. But, yeah. Obviously it was two months ago now, so stuff it in the past. It’s kind of like a fresh start almost right now.”

While their efforts didn’t show up on the stat sheet, the third line was one of the few bright spots on Thursday. It had arguably the best shift in the opening period as the Jets looked to find their feet after coughing up a goal in the opening minute. The third unit finished the night with an even plus/minus rating, which you could consider an accomplishment on a night where Chicago’s Patrick Kane dominated the game with a hand in all four of his team’s goals. Appleton had two shots on goal in 10 minutes of ice time.

“He was fine,” Maurice said post-game when asked to dissect Appleton’s performance. “Those two lines (third and fourth) got out, we went to a fairly short bench fairly early. They got out against good players. Those two lines were fine.”

While Lowry didn’t find immediate success like he did with Perreault and Copp, he still gave the line a passing grade while also admitting there’s still work to be done.

“I thought we were OK. I thought we generated some chances. Some good shifts. It’s kind of a work in progress,” Lowry said. “I’ve played with Bourquey at the start of the year and sparingly with Apple. I think it’s one of those, where the more time together, the better it will look.”

With the Jets having been outscored 10-4 in their past two games, they can only hope Lowry is right.

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...

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