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Jets fall 4-1 to Coyotes

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS</p><p>A shot by Arizona Coyotes' Lawson Crouse goes off of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot (7) and past Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit, right, for a goal as Coyotes right wing Josh Archibald (45) looks on during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.</p>

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

A shot by Arizona Coyotes' Lawson Crouse goes off of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot (7) and past Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit, right, for a goal as Coyotes right wing Josh Archibald (45) looks on during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Winnipeg Jets could look markedly different the next time they hit the ice.

Sunday night in the desert, on the eve of the NHL trade deadline, the current rendition resembled a team that might require some reinforcements.

The Jets’ see-saw southern road swing ended with their butts firmly planted on the ground... er, ice... after they suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands of the revved-up Arizona Coyotes.

It may turn out to be a costly loss for the Jets, as top-pairing defenceman Josh Morrissey left the game early in the third period and didn’t return. He took a big hit into the boards from Arizona centre Vinnie Hinostroza and immediately dropped his stick and skated off the ice, hunched over, appearing to favour his shoulder.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Winnipeg Jets could look markedly different the next time they hit the ice.

Sunday night in the desert, on the eve of the NHL trade deadline, the current rendition resembled a team that might require some reinforcements.

The Jets’ see-saw southern road swing ended with their butts firmly planted on the ground... er, ice... after they suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands of the revved-up Arizona Coyotes.

It may turn out to be a costly loss for the Jets, as top-pairing defenceman Josh Morrissey left the game early in the third period and didn’t return. He took a big hit into the boards from Arizona centre Vinnie Hinostroza and immediately dropped his stick and skated off the ice, hunched over, appearing to favour his shoulder.

Jets head coach Paul Maurice had no update on the steady two-way blue-liner after the game.

"We won't know until (Monday). We'll have him looked at when we get back to town," he said.

The Jets spent the night in Scottsdale and were to return home on Monday. The trade deadline is set for 2 p.m. (CT).

Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is believed to be pursuing forward help, and the Jets have been linked to rumours involving Ottawa winger Mark Stone, a Winnipegger, and centre Kevin Hayes of the New York Rangers.

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS</p><p>Arizona Coyotes center Brad Richardson (15) celebrates his goal against the Winnipeg Jets with Coyotes' Vinnie Hinostroza (13) as Jets center Bryan Little (18) skates past during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.</p>

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arizona Coyotes center Brad Richardson (15) celebrates his goal against the Winnipeg Jets with Coyotes' Vinnie Hinostroza (13) as Jets center Bryan Little (18) skates past during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.

It’s a safe bet now Cheveldayoff is considering ways to bolster his defensive corps as well. Winnipeg is already without Dustin Byfuglien, who missed the road trip with what’s believed to be an ankle injury. Maurice said Saturday the big blue-liner will resume skating this week but is still likely two weeks away from rejoining the lineup. Joe Morrow is also out of the lineup with an injury and is expected to miss at least another couple of weeks.

The Jets (37-21-4), still in the top spot in the Central Division, split their first two games on road, upending the Vegas Golden Knights 6-3 on Friday, two nights after getting roasted 7-1 by the Colorado Avalanche.

The Winnipeg-Arizona battle began 40 minutes late due to the classy but drawn-out jersey retirement ceremony for Mr. Coyote, winger Shane Doan.

Doan, an inspirational leader on and off the ice in Phoenix, must have revelled in the terrific performance by the ‘Yotes, who outworked the Jets and were justly rewarded with some puck luck, particularly in the second period.

Ugly warts from that disaster in Denver popped up in their game at Gila River Arena. Winnipeg’s forwards had difficulty controlling pucks along the boards, a combination of some shoddy passing by the back end and the Coyotes’ will to win battles.

Deep in Arizona territory, cycles down low disintegrated, shots misfired or were blocked by netminder Darcy Kuemper, who stopped 34 of 35 drives.

"I liked our start and then I liked our (penalty) kills but after that, the remainder of that first period we felt we bogged ourselves down in the neutral zone. And after that it's just a pretty hard-fought game," said Maurice.

"We got a bad break on the second one but those things are gonna happen. We had some looks that we couldn't finish on and he made some good saves."

Arizona got a couple of fortuitous bounces to grab a 3-1 lead in the second period, forcing the Jets into chase mode.

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS</p><p>Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) makes a save on a shot by Winnipeg Jets left wing Kyle Connor (81) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.</p>

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) makes a save on a shot by Winnipeg Jets left wing Kyle Connor (81) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.

Defenceman Ben Chiarot inadvertently booted the puck into his net after a rebound from Winnipeg goalie Laurent Brossoit spilled to the top of the crease. Coyotes’ winger Lawson Crouse took the initial shot and was credited with his 10th goal of the season to lift the hosts to a 2-1 lead.

Arizona centre Clayton Keller fired his 12th goal to expand the cushion on a wrist shot that glanced off defenceman Tyler Myers’ stick blade and handcuffed Brossoit.

He finished with 20 saves.

"They didn’t generate a ton, they had (24) shots. We scored one for them I think, just a bad bounce. (Then) gave up a little rush and (Keller) made a nice shot. They fore check hard and they collapse hard defensively," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler.

"They’re a team that plays really hard and it’s never easy coming into this building, so we respect that fact. It was one of those nights."

The Jets began with a bang — courtesy of a hot shot by Patrik Laine that found twine.

He picked up where he left the other night in Las Vegas — scoring a power-play goal early. It was his 28th tally of the season and third in two games – all with the man advantage – after a 15-game drought.

"I think we were kind of in a slump with the power play, so it’s obviously good. We’re going to need that in the future and, hopefully, in the playoffs. It’s good to get it going," said Laine, who hasn’t had a goal at even strength since Jan. 13.

"But that’s not good if we can’t score any 5-on-5 goals."

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS</p><p>From left to right Shane Doan, left, wife Andrea Doan, children Carson Doan, Josh Doan, and Karys Doan, watch as the Arizona Coyotes retire Shane's jersey during a ceremony prior to an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.</p>

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

From left to right Shane Doan, left, wife Andrea Doan, children Carson Doan, Josh Doan, and Karys Doan, watch as the Arizona Coyotes retire Shane's jersey during a ceremony prior to an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.

Wheeler set the table with what’s become a prototypical cross-ice feed to the young Finnish sniper, who buried the only puck behind Kuemper just 2:11 into the game.

The Jets struck four times on the power-play on the three-game road trip.

"(Laine) is starting to feel pretty good over there and when he’s feeling it, it’s a different dynamic. He can certainly put the puck in the net from some different spots. It makes us all better when he is playing well," said Wheeler.

Arizona centre Brad Richardson tied the game 1-1, swatting in his own rebound past Brossoit.

The Jets showed some pushback in the final frame, particularly Laine who demonstrated some grit on the wall and had the gun drawn with nine shot attempts — and 15 in all. Seven were on Kuemper, whose rebound control was solid.

 "When things are tough for your team, the puck bounces the other way. It doesn’t necessarily go to the guy that’s open on the back door, they don’t kick one in for us. A lot of those things, when your team is fighting it a little bit and having some tough nights, those are the kind of things that go against you," added Wheeler.

"Score aside, if you tell us the zone time that we got, the looks we got and the shot clock before the game, it’s probably a night we say we probably win. It wasn’t the case (Sunday).

Maurice pulled Brossoit but Josh Archibald dumped in an empty-netter for the ‘Yotes.

The Jets return home for a pair of games this week at Bell MTS Place. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Wild come to town seeking their fourth straight victory over Winnipeg this season, while the Predators will seek some payback Friday from a 5-1 thumping Jan. 17 in Nashville.

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS</p><p>Former Arizona Coyotes hockey captain Shane Doan gets emotional as he speaks during his jersey retirement ceremony prior to an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.</p>

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Arizona Coyotes hockey captain Shane Doan gets emotional as he speaks during his jersey retirement ceremony prior to an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz.

Whether the Jets have some new faces in the lineup remains to be seen, although Wheeler said he doesn’t focus on the effects of the trade deadline, a point he made earlier in the week.

"I’ve told you all along that it’s not something I put a whole lot of time and thought into. We put the faith into the powers that have that power and that’s not us. We just try to come out and win hockey games."


The night belonged to Shane Doan, the Jets 1.0 last-ever first-round draft pick and long-time Coyotes power forward and team captain.

His No. 19 jersey was raised to the rafters of the Glendale arena and won’t be worn again by any Arizona player. The father of four, now 42, retired in 2017 after 21 years in the NHL.

Doan, from Halkirk, Alta., was Winnipeg’s seventh-overall pick at the 1995 NHL draft, played one season in the Manitoba capital and then moved with the franchise to Phoenix in ‘96.

He is Arizona’s career leader in games (1,540), goals (402), assists (570), points (972), game-winning goals (69) and power-play goals (128).

Former Jets 1.0 players Teppo Numminen and Kris King attended the ceremony. Keith Tkachuk was unable to make it because he was watching his sons, Sens’ forward Brady and Calgary Flames forward Matthew, in a head-to-head battle in Ottawa.

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Assistant sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

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Updated on Monday, February 25, 2019 at 12:57 AM CST: Writethru

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