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Jets knock off Sens for fourth straight win

Perreault scores winner early in the third; Hellebuyck stops 29

by Ryan Dittrick @ryandittrick /

WINNIPEG - Mathieu Perreault has quietly been putting up one of the most prolific offensive runs in his career, and isn't showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.

The 29-year-old was back at it again Saturday, breaking a 2-2 tie with 12:14 to play to help the Jets win their fourth straight, 4-2 over the visiting Ottawa Senators.

The Jets have now won four straight games for the first time this season.

Perreault, meanwhile, now has points (11, in fact) in seven of his last eight games.

"We just don't quit," Perreault said. "I wish we would have done it earlier in the season, but it's nice to get those wins now and get that good feeling in the room and know that we can do it."

Video: POSTGAME | Mathieu Perreault

No matter what line he plays (on this night, he played the left side with Bryan Little and Patrik Laine), this dynamic, and sometimes gravity defying buzz saw just finds a way to produce and make those around him better.

This isn't some small sample, either. In fact, since the calendar flipped and the Jets played their first game of 2017 back on Jan. 3, Perreault has been incredibly consistent, recording 31 points in 36 games, including nine multi-point efforts.

Head Coach Paul Maurice chalks it up to health after the forward suffered a broken thumb earlier this season, hampering a good portion of his first half.

"He's on the puck now because he can (be)," the coach said. "He had a real tough injury to come back from. He broke his thumb… but he played through it. If you're a skilled guy, you're not moving the puck around with a broken bone in your hand. As soon as he got healthy, as soon as he started feeling good, he got back to the player that we know he is and he's been great since."

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

The Jets continued to push in the final 10 minutes before Nikolaj Ehlers iced the 4-2 decision with an empty-netter at 19:35.

Blake Wheeler and Adam Lowry had the other goals for Winnipeg, while Connor Hellebuyck was solid, stopping 29 in the victory.

But with the game tied at two, No. 85 stepped up and took over as he has so often over the past few months.

Bryan Little made a terrific pass through traffic from the far wall into the middle, and Perreault made no mistake from the top of the circles, firing a shot under the blocker of Ottawa goalie Mike Condon to give the Jets their first lead of the night.

Video: OTT@WPG: Little finds Perreault for go-ahead goal

"I liked our 'compete' and our 'battle back,'" Lowry said. "This was another game where we were playing from behind. We turned on the gas and they seemed to tire as the game went on. We were able to get on them, use our speed and generate our chances."

A Mike Hoffman blast put the Sens up 1-0 at 16:15 of a sleepy opening frame, after the Jets played hot potato with the puck at their own blue line. Nelson Nogier tried to clear it up the middle and away from danger, but it landed right back on the stick of a Sen, who made a short pass over to Hoffman for the blistering one-timer.

Kyle Turris came within inches of giving the Sens a 2-0 lead as he took a breakaway pass from Winnipeg native Mark Stone in the final minute of the period, but his wrister sailed high and wide.

Shots on goal were even at eight apiece after one.

Wheeler's 25th of the year tied things up for the Jets at 3:29 after Chris Kelly served up a turnover behind his own net, but the post-goal celebration was cut short. The Sens got it back only 11 seconds later as Hoffman's weak and off target centering pass banked in off the skate of Bryan Little in front, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead.

This is now the second straight season that Wheeler has eclipsed the 70-point (25G, 45A) mark.

Video: OTT@WPG: Wheeler cashes in off turnover in front

The Jets brought the game back on even terms at 10:43, only moments after a dominant power play that kept the Sens in their own end for the full two minutes finally expired. In his usual spot in front of the net, Lowry fended off a check, spun and cleaned up a loose puck in the blue paint to give him 15 on the year. Jacob Trouba drew the lone assist after his low shot off the pad created the second chance for the big centre, who continues to expand his career high in goals and points.

Video: POSTGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers

"It's always nice to get those opportunities," Lowry said of his time on the power play. "You just try and make the most of them. I'm mostly there to try and get in the goalies eyes and not necessarily get my stick on pucks as much. But I think overall our power play over the last little bit has been moving the puck around well an generating some shots to the net and I've been fortunate to cash on some of those."

The Jets will have the day off on Sunday, but will return to the practice ice on Monday as they embark on a two-game road trip and the final week of the 2016-17 season.

- Ryan Dittrick,

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