November 24, 2017

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Record: 13 – 5 – 3

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Winnipeg Jets (13 – 5 – 3)

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Jets slap leash on desert dogs

Scheifele scores No. 100, Mason a rock in net

15), Shawn Matthias (16) and Joel Armia (40</p><p>TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSWinnipeg Jets' Toby Enstrom (39), Matt Hendricks celebrate after Hendricks scored against the Arizona Coyotes' during second period NHL action at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Saturday, November 11, 2017.</p>

15), Shawn Matthias (16) and Joel Armia (40

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSWinnipeg Jets' Toby Enstrom (39), Matt Hendricks celebrate after Hendricks scored against the Arizona Coyotes' during second period NHL action at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Saturday, November 11, 2017.

GLENDALE, Arizona — Steve Mason showed up from the start. The rest of the Winnipeg Jets, not so much. However, the team’s prize free-agent signing of the summer held down the crease long enough for his teammates to find enough fuel in their tank to fly home with a victory.

Mason stopped 29 of 30 shots Saturday night as the Jets rallied for a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. It’s the first win in a Winnipeg uniform for Mason, who got off to a bumpy start with his new team and then saw Connor Hellebuyck emerge as the No. 1 netminder.

Mark Scheifele’s 100th goal of his career early in the third-period proved to be the difference, breaking a tie and putting the Jets ahead to stay. They improve to 9-4-3 on the season, including 2-1-0 on this road trip that began with a 4-1 win in Dallas Monday followed by a 5-2 defeat in Las Vegas Friday.

Arizona has struggled mightily this year, off to a league-worst 2-14-3 start. But they certainly looked like the stronger team through the first two periods Saturday. Or at least the one with the fresher legs.

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GLENDALE, Arizona — Steve Mason showed up from the start. The rest of the Winnipeg Jets, not so much. However, the team’s prize free-agent signing of the summer held down the crease long enough for his teammates to find enough fuel in their tank to fly home with a victory.

Mason stopped 29 of 30 shots Saturday night as the Jets rallied for a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. It’s the first win in a Winnipeg uniform for Mason, who got off to a bumpy start with his new team and then saw Connor Hellebuyck emerge as the No. 1 netminder.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSWinnipeg Jets' celebrate after Matt Hendricks (15), scored against the Arizona Coyotes' during second period NHL action at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Saturday, November 11, 2017.</p>

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSWinnipeg Jets' celebrate after Matt Hendricks (15), scored against the Arizona Coyotes' during second period NHL action at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Saturday, November 11, 2017.

Mark Scheifele’s 100th goal of his career early in the third-period proved to be the difference, breaking a tie and putting the Jets ahead to stay. They improve to 9-4-3 on the season, including 2-1-0 on this road trip that began with a 4-1 win in Dallas Monday followed by a 5-2 defeat in Las Vegas Friday.

Arizona has struggled mightily this year, off to a league-worst 2-14-3 start. But they certainly looked like the stronger team through the first two periods Saturday. Or at least the one with the fresher legs.

The Coyotes threatened early in the opening frame, getting a couple good looks on a power play courtesy of a Blake Wheeler slashing penalty. But Mason stood tall to keep it scoreless.

Scheifele had the first real chance for the Jets, breaking free on a partial breakaway about eight minutes into the game but was turned away by Arizona’s Antti Raanta.

Winnipeg’s top line of Scheifele, Wheeler and Kyle Connor, which had a terrible game during Friday’s Las Vegas defeat, got caught on the ice for a two minute and six second shift later in the period but managed to survive unscathed. But the Jets continued to be a mess in their own end.

You could feel it coming, and Arizona finally broke through with just over five minutes left in the period. Adam Lowry turned the puck over, and the Jets slid and flopped around before Rinaldo eventually deflected a shot past Mason.

Despite only having two wins on the year, Arizona has now scored the opening goal 13 times in their 19 games, which is tops in the league.

There was a scary moment in the period, as Josh Morrissey got tangled up with Arizona’s Christian Fischer. The Coyotes winger crashed face-first into the boards behind Winnipeg’s net. He was down for a few moments and cut on the play, but later returned to the game apparently none the worse for wear.

Winnipeg didn’t look any sharper in the second and found themselves having to kill another couple penalties, to Lowry and then Jacob Trouba, that were again the result of positional breakdowns.

The Jets finally got on the board just over 13 minutes into the middle frame, courtesy of a major break. Matt Hendricks was the beneficiary of a bad Arizona turnover, and the veteran centre’s shot from the slot hit one, possibly two Coyotes and wobbled its way past Raanta.

It’s the first goal of the season for Hendricks, and it seemed to give the Jets some life. Connor nearly put his team ahead moments later, tipping a feed from Wheeler that Raanta stopped.

Then came the breakthrough in the third period.

With the Jets on the power play, Dustin Byfuglien made a fantastic play at the Arizona blue line, lunging at a puck to keep it from exiting the zone. The Jets then turned that around, with Patrik Laine feeding Wheeler who sauced it to Scheifele for his milestone goal.

Scheifele then made a terrific pass to Connor a few minutes later, threading the puck through three Arizona defenders from behind the net. Connor buried it from the slot for his fourth of the season.

Laine then sealed the deal with a no-look backhand shot from centre ice into an empty net with 16 seconds left in the game. It’s Laine’s ninth of the season, and the fifth straight game he’s scored.

Saturday’s win may have come at a cost. Tyler Myers went down near the midway point of the third period after appearing to twist his leg during a scramble around the net. He was in considerable pain and had to be helped off by trainers, going directly to the dressing room. He did return to the bench late in the period and took a spin on the ice during a commercial break.

Josh Morrissey was good to go Saturday, despite leaving the game against the Golden Knights midway through the third period after blocking a shot. There were no other lineup changes, meaning Brendan Lemieux, Marko Dano and Ben Chiarot were all healthy scratches.

Winnipeg now returns home and will kick-off off three straight games at Bell MTS Place when they host the very same Coyotes on Tuesday night.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Read more by Mike McIntyre.

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