BELLEVILLE ON - It's amazing how a rest day can make a big difference for a group of players trying to make an impression.
The Winnipeg Jets were much improved Sunday night as they won a tightly contested game, with goals from Ville Heinola and Johnathan Kovacevic, beating the Montreal Canadiens 2-1.
Griffen Outhouse made 20 saves for the Jets who are now 1-1 at the 2019 Rookie Showcase Tournament.
"We had some good meetings, I think the boys did a good job understanding what needs to be done," said head coach Pascal Vincent.
"Marty (Johnston) and Eric (Dubois) did a great job with the forwards and the D, (to) make sure they were ready tonight. It's good to see and the guys were excited. It doesn't matter if it's a rookie tournament or regular season, we're hockey people and we want to win."
Video: ROOKIE CAMP | Pascal Vincent
Just like Friday the Jets opened the scoring, this time at 9:31 of the first when Heinola grabbed the puck at the blue line and wristed a shot beating a screened Cayden Primeau for a 1-0 Winnipeg lead.
It didn't take the Canadiens long to get the equalizer when Alexandre Alain shoveled a shot underneath Outhouse at 11:15.
Winnipeg scored the only goal of the second period and they did it while shorthanded at 11:59. Kovacevic pinched in at the Montreal blueline, had his first shot blocked, grabbed the loose puck and his second chance hit the back of the net for a 2-1 Jets lead.
"Bobby Lynch made a great play to outwork the guy and put it out front," said Kovacevic.
"I tried a quick shot right away; it came right back to me and then had a little more composure on the second shot and was able to find the lane. The goalie was down from the first one and I think I beat him up high."
Video: ROOKIE CAMP | Johnathan Kovacevic
Kovacevic and Heinola shined on Sunday with both players being named stars of the game.
"He's a lot of fun to play with. Sometimes you get caught watching him, you know," said Kovacevic.
"It's fun to watch him play out there, he's got a ton of skill, so smooth. It's my job to kind of be a little more steady when he's working his magic out there."
With 13 minutes left in the third and the Jets still holding on to their 2-1 lead, Outhouse had to leave the game as he was struggling with cramps. Adam Carlson replaced him and didn't face any shots before Outhouse returned to close out the game. The Jets only gave up two shots in the third period.
"It was a really fun game. They were pretty shut down," said Outhouse.
"I mean two or three shots in the third period. I was happy with how they played and they gave me a lot of confidence in there."
Video: ROOKIE CAMP | Griffen Outhouse
Winnipeg will close out the tournament on Monday with a rematch against the Ottawa Senators who have won both of their games. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 PM CT.