Record: 52 – 20 – 10
BUFFALO — Five players involved in the biggest trade in the short history of Winnipeg Jets 2.0 played Tuesday night in Buffalo.
And a sixth was in the building.
Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian were in the Sabres’ lineup, while the Jets dressed defenceman Tyler Myers and forwards Joel Armia and Jack Roslovic.
Roslovic was selected by the Jets with a 2015 first-round pick they obtained from Buffalo in that massive deal in February ’15. Then-prospect Brendan Lemieux was recalled from the Manitoba Moose on Sunday, but was a healthy scratch Tuesday.
Winnipeg also got forward Drew Stafford, who helped the team qualify for its first and only playoff appearance, but has since left the organization and has five goals this year with the New Jersey Devils.
Kane, meanwhile, leads the Sabres with 16 goals, while Bogosian, an alternate captain, is gaining momentum on the back end after beginning the season on the injured-reserve list.
Myers, enjoying a solid bounce-back season after missing all but 11 games of the 2016-17 campaign, said both organizations have benefited from the swap.
"It’s pretty cool. A lot of time has passed since the trade, so the fact that both teams have a lot of pieces from it, it’s pretty cool most of us are in the lineup," Myers said before Tuesday’s game against the Sabres, his first back in Buffalo since the deal. "I’m not going to go into the game focusing on winning the trade. It’s the same focus as any other game, but I’m definitely excited to come back and play my first one."
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Entering Tuesday’s game, Patrik Laine hadn’t scored in seven games, his last coming Dec. 19 in a 6-4 triumph over the Nashville Predators.
Over the weekend, his ice time dropped considerably from 10 previous contests. The 19-year-old Finn played just 13:20 on a line with Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor against the San Jose Sharks. Most noticeable were the shifts he missed in the third period.
But Jets head coach Paul Maurice said fewer shifts for the young sniper — and Connor — was the result of some great work by the club’s bottom-six forwards, who manufactured Winnipeg’s first two goals of the game (Matt Hendricks with his fourth and Marko Dano with his second).
"There was no message. It wasn’t a benching," Maurice said. "I liked the way the other guys were going. I wasn’t angry at them."
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A couple of Jets will, in all likelihood, be selected Wednesday to participate in the NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa Bay later this month.
Goalie Connor Hellebuyck is having a superb season, and is third in the league in victories (23). Wheeler, meanwhile, is seventh in points (50) and fourth in assists (36), while Laine has 18 goals.
The all-star game is set for Jan. 28.
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).