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Quick start helps Jets to preseason win over Wild

Jets score twice in 38 seconds to earn home victory

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - It took all of 38 seconds for Andrew Copp and Sami Niku to make an impact in their first preseason appearance of the season.

The former took a stretch pass from the latter and ripped a wrist shot from the left wing that beat Kaapo Kahkonen from the top of the circle 59 seconds into the game. 

Then, after the ensuing face-off, the Jets came back into the Minnesota Wild zone and Copp found Blake Wheeler in the high slot. The Jets captain sent a one-timer on net, beating Kahkonen just 38 seconds after the home side opened the scoring.

Wheeler would add an assist on a power play marker in the third period to give him, Copp, and Niku two-point efforts in a 4-1 win over the Wild.

Video: MIN@WPG: Copp beats Kahkonen with top-shelf laser

While it was nice to get the win to move to 1-1-0 in the preseason, head coach Paul Maurice wasn't paying much attention to chemistry with his lines on this night.

"We're working on three or four things. I wanted those three or four things to be seen in the game. I liked it. I thought we were good in those areas," said Maurice, who said it can be difficult to guage how the team played with Minnesota's roster not being full strength.

"Are you moving the way you're supposed to? Regardless of the result, are we moving together at the right places? That was kind of it. I thought we were right there."

Josh Morrissey and C.J Suess rounded out the scoring for the Jets.

Copp is coming off a 2018-19 season that saw him post 28 points, a career-high, but the 25-year-old feels he can build on that performance even more in 2019-20.

"I just want to continue on the path that I was on for the last 50 games of last year. I feel comfortable with where my game is at and where it's heading," said Copp. "It was nice to get involved offensively early. But one shift in one preseason game doesn't mean too much. I have to continue to put the pedal down, but it was good to get feeling good again."

Video: MIN@WPG: Wheeler nets one-timer from the slot

The Jets lead was cut in half nine minutes into the third, when the Wild cashed in on a chance in front of Laurent Brossoit. The Jets goaltender made the initial save off Nico Sturm, but the Minnesota forward stopped up at the top of the crease and banged in his own rebound.

But that was the only puck that got by Brossoit, who finished the night with 20 saves on 21 shots in his preseason debut.

"Our team played well," Brossoit said. "I wasn't tested too often until maybe a bit in the third. Everything else, just movement, mentally, and everything else, it felt good."

The Jets answered back with 5:09 left in regulation, when Josh Morrissey blasted home a power play marker to restore the two-goal lead.

While the unit didn't have the exact personnel it may have on opening night, Wheeler was happy with how the unit looked, given the fact the team hasn't worked on it much so far in camp.

"We ran breakouts a couple times, but end zone, it's a fresh look," said Wheeler. "There are definitely some really good things to build off of. There is a little bit of rust there in terms of some of the plays we make. But overall it's exciting. There are some new wrinkles we can add to that power play and it's a fresh look."

Video: MIN@WPG: Morrissey doubles lead with power-play goal

Suess potted an empty netter with 1:15 to go to put the finishing touches on the offence. Suess, who missed a big chunk of last season due to injury, showed his experience in the Jets system on this night, finishing with 14:27 of ice time, three shots on goal, and three hits.

Maurice puts Suess, Michael Spacek, Kristian Reichel, and Seth Griffith in the same category of growth.

"I think there has been a big jump from one training camp to another. Their stamina, mental and physical, they're stronger - but mentally they don't come out of games," Maurice said. "Which is exactly what all kids do - especially really talented ones. You get really excited, we all remember those. We go 'oh my God is this kid a great player!' But there are four shifts where you can't find them and they're all over the ice. That's that consistency."

Next up, the Jets host the St. Louis Blues on Friday in the third game of the preseason schedule.

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