WINNIPEG - After missing 16 games at a crucial time of the season, Mathieu Perreault finally got to join his teammates in the fight on Friday night. He came back at the right time, helping the Winnipeg Jets shut out the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0.
"It was tough, it was tough to watch. But it definitely feels good to be back," said Perreault who played 8:05.
"Just to be on the bench, to be on the ice with the guys and especially at this time of the year. It's so crucial, every point so important. It's just nice to be able to come out and fight with the guys."
Video: JETSTV LIVE | Mathieu Perreault
Perreault admitted before the game that he was nervous which is surprising to hear from a player who had 624 NHL games under his belt heading into Friday.
"I felt really good to be honest. I had that kind of excitement going through my body to start the game," said Perreault on the JetsTV Live Postgame Show presented by Budweiser.
"So I was like buzzing out on the ice. I had a couple of shifts in the second where I got stuck out on the ice longer and I started feeling it but other than that I felt really good. Our line had a good night."
Yes, the fourth line of Perreault, Nick Shore and Mason Appleton definitely had a good night. Perreault had a glorious chance to score in the opening period but Marc-Andre Fleury kept his opening shot out of the Vegas net. According to Natural Stat Trick, Perreault's line out chanced the Golden Knights 7-2 when they were on the ice at five-on-five.
"It was the first time playing with Nick, played a little bit with Appy before but it was good," said Perreault.
"We worked really hard together on the forecheck. We were able to create some o-zone shifts which is always good for your fourth line to be able to create some momentum that way."
It was in the second period when Perreault got his first goal since November 23rd when he banged home a shot after Josh Morrissey spotted him going to the front of the net. It was a power play goal that made it 4-0 and really put the game away for the Jets.
Video: VGK@WPG: Perreault swats puck home on power play
"It felt nice. The second unit doesn't really get out there too much. So when you get a chance you have to make the most of it," said Perreault.
"Just a good forecheck and we were able to get it to the point and that shot just went off my skate, I batted it out of the air. All in all it was a good goal."
Perreault had the goal, a season high six hits but Paul Maurice liked a lot more than the 32-year old's performance on the ice.
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
"He's talking on the bench and he's keeping guys excited and he's having fun. Enjoying the pressure," said Maurice.
"I didn't get him out there a whole lot. But a real good energy in the room and Frenchie likes scoring as much as anybody. The people around him enjoy it even more cause he celebrates the right way.