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Jets defence plays key role offensively in win over Arizona

Trouba, Morrissey, Myers combine for seven points

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - Good defence leads to good offence. 

That's what the Winnipeg Jets preach. On Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes, the defencemen were a big part of that offence.

Josh Morrissey and Tyler Myers each had a goal and an assist, while Jacob Trouba added three assists of his own in a 5-3 Jets win. 

Add it all up and those three defencemen combined for seven points.

"We definitely have the capability to get in on the offence there on the back end. It's good to see," said Trouba. "It was a back and forth game. We'd get up and get playing pretty well and they'd get on us. We'd kind of have lulls and it went back and forth for pretty much the whole game."

Video: ARI@WPG: Lowry deflects Morrissey's shot past Raanta

Adam Lowry, Mathieu Perreault, and Blake Wheeler added singles in the victory. The Jets are now 5-2-1 this season, and Wheeler believes the team has had big efforts from different players each night to get those valuable points in the standings.

"We have to have that right now. That's what we're building. Guys chipping in whether it's on the scoresheet or doing little things. Our penalty kill was great tonight," said Wheeler after the Jets killed off four Arizona power plays.

"That's what good teams do. It's still early in the season. We're still trying to find ourselves a little bit. Different nights, different guys are stepping up."

The night didn't start out easily for the home side, as the Coyotes peppered the Jets net. At one point, Arizona had 13 shots on goal to Winnipeg's two.

Laurent Brossoit - who finished the night with 42 saves - held the fort as long as he could, but Arizona would get on the board first.

Christian Fischer took a pass from Oliver Ekman-Larsson at the bottom of the circle, and cut in front of Brossoit on his forehand, tucking the puck just inside the left post.

Video: ARI@WPG: Myers skates in and beats Raanta top shelf

The Jets would respond however, with both Mark Scheifele and Arizona's Lawson Crouse off for interference and hooking penalties. Adam Lowry won an offensive zone draw and went to the net. Trouba's quick cross-ice pass to Josh Morrissey resulted in a shooting lane that Morrissey took, and Lowry tipped it past Antti Raanta.

It was Lowry's fourth of the season and third in two games. Lowry's number may not be called often on four-on-four, but the way the shifts had worked out, head coach Paul Maurice didn't hesitate to put him out for the weak-side face-off. 

"Part of Morrissey five-on-five and Trouba being able to generate more points, a lot of nights they play behind Lowry," said Maurice. "In order to generate points, you're going to need the forward group to get the offensive chances. You're seeing that line emerge now and getting offence each night."

Video: ARI@WPG: Perreault one-times Trouba's feed

After only getting six shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes, the Jets were able to generate more offence in the middle frame.

Six shots were the result of a power play with Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers playing the point. While that power play didn't light the lamp, Myers did shortly after at even strength.

The 6'8" defenceman pinched down from the left side, picked his spot, and fired a laser bar down over the left shoulder of Raanta.

So even though that power play didn't light the lamp, Wheeler felt it was a momentum turning time in the game.

"That was a great power play. Buff had a lot of great shots. From there, they jumped on some loose pucks and created some seam plays, created some slot plays. They might have had half our shots in the game right on that power play," Wheeler said. "They did a great job taking what then penalty kill game them… that definitely tilted the ice a little bit."

Video: ARI@WPG: Morrissey buries Scheifele's feed for PPG

An interference call on Dylan Strome 2:19 after the Myers goal offered the Jets a chance to extend the lead. Kyle Connor won a puck battle in the right corner and left it for Scheifele, who spotted Morrissey pinching down into a soft area in coverage in the slot. The pass found Morrissey's tape, and then the back of the net. 

"I thought we were working it around pretty well. There was a change of sides, and when that happens sometimes you can slide down the middle. Scheif made an unbelievable pass to me," said Morrissey.

Along with the power play cashing in, Morrissey liked how the Jets stuck to their game in the third period.

"We started rolling through the second and gave up one early in the third and responded really well," said Morrissey. "We just kept playing the same way. LB was great in the net. That portion of the game, finding a way to hold on to that lead was huge."

That early goal in the third came when Arizona's Clayton Keller's give-and-go with Ekman-Larsson resulted in a one-timer over the shoulder of Brossoit, but under two minutes later, the two-goal cushion would be restored.

Trouba pinched down the right-side boards and carried the puck behind the net before slipping a pass to Perreault in the high slot. Perreault quickly got the puck on net, and Brendan Lemieux's fly by screen of Raanta prevented the Arizona goaltender from getting a clean look.

There was a challenge for goaltender interference, but the goal stood, giving Perreault his first of the season. 

"When everybody gets a goal, it feels good. Everybody feels pretty good when they score," said Trouba. "You want to see everybody jump in and get in there. It's good to see a lot of names on the score sheet."

Keller's second of the night, a wrist shot high stick side on Brossoit, brought the Coyotes within one.

But Wheeler's empty-netter with less than a minute remaining put the game away for good, and sealed Winnipeg's second consecutive win.

The Jets are now 3-0-1 on the home stand, with the next opponent coming on Monday, as the St. Louis Blues come to town to renew their Central Division rivalry with the Jets.

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