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Jets open home stand with tough loss to Penguins

Perreault, Scheifele score as Jets split season series with Pittsburgh

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - A three-game win streak came to an end for the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night, as they dropped a 7-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins to close out the season series between the two clubs.

Mathieu Perreault and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets, who were playing their seventh game in 11 days to open the season.  

But while the Jets will certainly watch video on certain aspects of this loss, captain Blake Wheeler said the team will move on from it quickly.

"It's an outlier. I don't think that's indicative of our team," said Wheeler. "We've been behind a fair bit this year. But we've stayed in the battle. We've fought all year. Every once in a while it's going to look like that."

Video: PIT@WPG: Scheifele flips backhander home for PPG

Laurent Brossoit made 21 saves in the setback which drops the Jets record to 4-3-0 this season.

But Brossoit's teammates - and his coach - were quick to defend their goaltender.

"He might be the one guy that gets to say there was some bad breaks out there," said Maurice. "Off our skate, off the post back out the wrong side, hitting people. It's a tough one for him. He knows he's not coming out because there's no relief in that game. There wasn't a whole lot of work but there was a tough scrambles in front of the net for him."

It was a match-up that started exactly how the home side wanted it to.

For the first time this season, the Jets opened the scoring. Perreault's attempted pass to Mason Appleton from the left corner went off the stick of Jared McCann and beat a surprised Tristan Jarry on the short side.

The lead would only last for 2:22, as Zach Aston-Reese slid home a loose puck - the product of a Teddy Blueger shot ringing off the post behind Brossoit - for his first of the season.

"It's tough. We couldn't get anything going," said Josh Morrissey, who finished with one assist. "When we started to get going, a bad bounce would go against us. When you play 82 games there are going to be nights like that. We have to move on."

Video: PIT@WPG: Perreault scores off fortunate deflection

A Mason Appleton tripping penalty 6:05 into the second put Pittsburgh on the man advantage. Despite a couple early stops from Brossoit, he couldn't get his left leg on Jake Guentzel's third of the season, a tap-in after a deflected pass from Brian Dumoulin.

Just 41 seconds later, Sam Lafferty jumped on a puck that bounced off the end boards and squeezed it between the post and Brossoit's left skate as the Jets goaltender was coming across to increase Pittsburgh's lead to 3-1.

The Jets responded at the halfway mark of the second period. From the left circle, Patrik Laine sent a feed to Scheifele in the middle of the ice. His initial redirect went off Kris Letang's stick and right back to him - and the Jets centre sent a backhand over a sprawling Jarry to pull the Jets back within one.

It was the second straight game the Jets had cashed in on the power play, but later in the period, the Jets gave up a shorthanded goal for the second consecutive night.

"We had some looks on the power play. You never want to give up shorthanded goals on the flip side of things," said Morrissey. "Those are backbreakers. We have to clean that up. The number one thing when you're out there on the power play, regardless of if you have an extra guy, you have to out compete the other team and not give anything up."

After Dominik Simon restored Pittsburgh's two-goal lead late in the second, Maurice shuffled the lines for the third period, and while it resulted in some chances - including Wheeler hitting the post off the rush - the Penguins would strike again. Lafferty's second of the game, a wrist shot that banked off the skate of defenceman Anthony Bitetto and by Brossoit to make it 5-2 Penguins.

Guentzel and Aston-Reese added their second goals of the game late in the third to round out the scoring.

"We had a tough night tonight," said Maurice. "We've been a pretty damn good team. We weren't tonight. I'm leaving it."

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