December 12, 2018

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Record: 19 – 9 – 2

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Winnipeg Jets (19 – 9 – 2)

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Jets strike twice in 22 seconds

Goals by Trouba, Lowry power Winnipeg to win in New York

New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin and Winnipeg Jets defenceman Nelson Nogier compete for the puck during the second period Tuesday in New York.

(AP PHOTO/JULIO CORTEZ)

New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin and Winnipeg Jets defenceman Nelson Nogier compete for the puck during the second period Tuesday in New York.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Josh Morrissey was there and then he wasn’t — not the vanishing act the banged-up Winnipeg Jets needed now, or ever.

Already missing a monster minute-eater in Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets really had to scramble Tuesday night against the New York Islanders with the absence of Morrissey, another of their marquee blue-liners. He took the usual warm-up twirls a half-hour before puck drop but was scratched due to a lower-body injury.

The depleted defensive corps, led by veterans Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot, and propped up by Manitoba Moose call-ups Sami Niku, Cam Schilling and Nelson Nogier, did yeoman’s work as the Jets gutted out a 3-1 victory over the Islanders before just 9,100 fans at Barclays Center.

Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry scored goals 22 seconds apart early in the third period to spark Winnipeg, which has chalked up four straight wins and taken five of six since back-to-back road defeats in Calgary (Nov. 21) and Minnesota (Nov. 23)

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Josh Morrissey was there and then he wasn’t — not the vanishing act the banged-up Winnipeg Jets needed now, or ever.

Already missing a monster minute-eater in Dustin Byfuglien, the Jets really had to scramble Tuesday night against the New York Islanders with the absence of Morrissey, another of their marquee blue-liners. He took the usual warm-up twirls a half-hour before puck drop but was scratched due to a lower-body injury.

The depleted defensive corps, led by veterans Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot, and propped up by Manitoba Moose call-ups Sami Niku, Cam Schilling and Nelson Nogier, did yeoman’s work as the Jets gutted out a 3-1 victory over the Islanders before just 9,100 fans at Barclays Center.  

Jacob Trouba and Adam Lowry scored goals 22 seconds apart early in the third period to spark Winnipeg, which has chalked up four straight wins and taken five of six since back-to-back road defeats in Calgary (Nov. 21) and Minnesota (Nov. 23)

Call it a clean sweep — a huge chomp out of the Big Apple right down to the core — as the Jets earned six out of a possible six points in the New York area in four nights.

"Of the three (wins), maybe I’m most pleased tonight," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. "With the people we had out on our back end and the play of all of them, our goaltender as well, defensively, a grinding game. I thought we were really smart. They accepted the game that was being played and got comfortable in it."

The Jets were guilty of some ugly third periods in late November, but finishing strong was a running theme on the road trip. The Central Division squad scored eight goals in the final periods and one in overtime — Mark Scheifele’s game-winner in New Jersey. 

"I don’t think we necessarily built in all three games. I think we played pretty much the same period each time, nine very solid road periods," said Maurice.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stops a shot by the New York Islanders during the third period.

(AP PHOTO/JULIO CORTEZ)

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stops a shot by the New York Islanders during the third period.

Winnipeg (17-8-2) hosts the St. Louis Blues on Friday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

There was little to report through a stodgy, scoreless 40 minutes. The Islanders got on the board early in the final frame when Anders Lee swiped in his 10th of the year. But the Jets earned a power-play opportunity on the next shift and Trouba scored on a point shot that went in off the stick of Islanders forward Casey Cizikas and past goaltender Thomas Greiss at 3:39.

Lowry then deposited the rebound off a Brandon Tanev shot on the Jets’ next shift. Nikolaj Ehlers scored an empty-netter to seal the triumph.

"Our line tends to go out after power plays and we want to keep that momentum. We’re not necessarily looking to score a goal right away but you’re looking to get some offensive-zone pressure and sustain that," said Lowry, who scored his fifth of the year. "Fortunately, we were able to get a big goal for us. It’s a two-goal swing in under 30 seconds. It’s nice that we were able to go out and score right after the power play."

The Jets’ blue-line corps is ravaged by injuries, with Byfuglien (concussion), Joe Morrow (lower body) and Dmitry Kulikov (upper body) already on the shelf. The good news for the Jets is that whatever is afflicting Morrissey is being classified as a day-to-day thing.

Equally as positive is the recognition that Trouba can be a workhorse, shining in both ends of the rink, without his much ballyhooed blue-line mate.

"When you’re missing guys, your role gets bigger, there’s not really any other way to go about it," said Trouba, who scored his third goal of the season and logged a game-high 28:01 minutes of ice time. 

"You’re gonna get some different opportunities, so nothing really changes, you just go out there and play. I thought we had a lot of good performances. All of our D played pretty well and (goalie Connor Hellebuyck) made some really big saves for us. All the guys that came in… one (Nogier) didn’t even know he was playing until late today, so he stepped up in a big way."

Nogier took the warm-up as the seventh blue-liner and then received word he’d suit up for his 11th career NHL game and first since the 2016-17 season.

Winnipeg Jets players celebrate a goal by Jacob Trouba against the New York Islanders, in the third period Tuesday. The Jets won 3-1.

(AP PHOTO/JULIO CORTEZ)

Winnipeg Jets players celebrate a goal by Jacob Trouba against the New York Islanders, in the third period Tuesday. The Jets won 3-1.

"I came off the ice from warm-up and one of the athletic therapists said you’re going tonight, so I said ‘All right, let’s get ’er going.’ Paul kind of hinted at it in the meeting that there was a chance I was going to be playing and in morning skate (assistant coach Charlie Huddy) told me to keep it light just in case (Morrissey) wasn’t ready to go.

"It was good, really good. There’s always an adjustment period because it’s a lot faster of a game. But I just tried to relax and stick to what I’m good at and let the rest take care of itself."

Maurice’s assessment of the fill-ins?

"Well, you’ve got Sami Niku blocking shots and (Schilling) is moving the puck really well and (Nogier) pressed into duty late today. All three were really important parts. We didn’t hide them, they played and played well," he said.

Hellebuyck returned to the crease after playing Sunday at Madison Square Garden and had a solid night, stopping 27 shots.

He snuffed out a couple of quality chances by Jordan Eberle and Cal Clutterbuck with the game scoreless and then stopped a laser by Johnny Boychuk with about a minute left. He also got some help from the iron, as Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock both cranked shots off the crossbar.

Missing Morrissey amped up the stress level but the team responded, said Hellebuyck, who posted his 12th victory of the season.

"It’s always a bummer when (Morrissey) is out, but it says a lot about the guys in this locker room that we were able to grind and stick with our game. He’s a fantastic player and I love it when he’s out there, it makes the game so much easier, but unfortunately he was out and we had good guys coming in," he said.

"I just don’t want (Niku, Nogier and Schilling) to play scared. I just make sure they know that I’ve got their back, and if they’re going to make a decision, just go ahead with it. Don’t second-guess yourself. You’re a good player and you’re here for a reason, so go forward with it."

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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History

Updated on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 8:49 PM CST: Adds photos

9:19 PM: Updates photos

10:17 PM: Edits photos

11:11 PM: Full write through, updates headline

11:19 PM: Updates tile headline

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