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Road trip recap: Jets go three-for-three on road trip through New York

Trouba: "We've found a little bit of consistency this last couple weeks."

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - Earlier in November, Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice said his team played 10 solid road periods out of 12 on a four-game road trip.

Those two periods cost the team, as they finished the trip with a 2-2-0 record.

However, over the course of three games in four nights in the New York area, Maurice saw his team play "nine solid road periods."

That resulted in wins over the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and the New York Islanders.

"I don't think we necessarily built in all three games," said Maurice. "I think we played almost the same period each time."

Perhaps his favourite of the three was the 3-1 victory over the Islanders to close out the trip, the team's fourth straight win on the road.

"With the people we had out on the back end, and the play of all of them, our goaltender as well defensively… were real smart," said Maurice. "The vast majority of our game - they accepted the game that was being played and got comfortable in it."

Video: WPG@NYR: Scheifele beats Lundqvist to win shootout

The Jets are now 8-5-0 away from Bell MTS Place and have won four consecutive games overall. The team's record now sits at 17-8-2.

"We liked the way we played pretty much the whole road trip outside of maybe a couple minutes in New Jersey," said Jacob Trouba. "We're happy with how we're playing. It's tough to get rolling in this league, we're finding a way. We have to keep it going."

Depth on Display

Just minutes before puck drop against the Islanders, defenceman Nelson Nogier learned he would be in the Jets line-up.

Josh Morrissey - who had been playing close to 30 minutes per night on the road trip with injuries to fellow defencemen Dustin Byfuglien, Dmitry Kulikov, and Joe Morrow - wouldn't play due to a lower-body injury.

"I prepared the right way throughout the day and treated it like I was playing. Sure enough that's the way the chips fell," said Nogier, who played just over 10 minutes in his first NHL action of the 2018-19 season.

"I have to give huge credit to my teammates. They were communicating with me out there and helping me out as we went along. We took care of what we needed to in the defensive zone."

With those injuries on the blue line, Sami Niku and Cam Schilling had played each of the Jets previous three games heading into the tilt against the Islanders.

Maurice said all three, Nogier included, played a big role in the victory.

"You have Sami Niku blocking shots, Cam is moving the puck really well, (Nogier) pressed into duty late today, all three of them were a really important part," said Maurice. "We didn't hide them. They played and they played well."

Adam Lowry, who was without Andrew Copp on his wing after the Michigan native sat out the game after not feeling well on game day morning, said the organization's depth was on full display.

Video: WPG@NYI: Lowry scores Jets' second goal in 22 seconds

"Guys stepped in and it seemed like we didn't miss a beat," said Lowry, who's third period goal held up as the eventual game-winner against the Islanders. "Guys move up to the top power play unit, you have Troubs there and he scores a big goal. You have (Nogier), Schilling, and Sami, they come in and move the puck effectively and really contain the Islanders tonight. It's a really good sign for us that we have guys like that who can step in."

Follow the Leaders

With a combined 23 games of NHL experience between Schilling, Niku, and Nogier, the other three veterans on the Jets blue line - Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, and Ben Chiarot - came up big on the back end.

Trouba's third goal of the season came on the power play in the third period. The 24-year-old played the point on the unit with Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Patrik Laine, a spot that had been held down by Morrissey with Byfuglien already out of the line-up with a concussion.

"Jake's goal is critical for sure. All three of those guys have elevated their game," said Maurice. "Jake scored the big goal, Tyler Myers broke pucks out tonight under heavy pressure with his range. Ben, again, big heavy minutes. The back end didn't just survive, they played very well."

Video: WPG@NYI: Trouba hammers home PPG from the point

 The win over the Islanders was also the second consecutive game the Jets came from behind to pick up two points on the trip. They faced a 3-0 deficit two nights earlier against the Rangers heading into the third period, only to rally and win the game in a shootout.

 "We've found a little bit of consistency this last couple weeks," said Trouba. "Nobody really gets rattled when we give up one. We have confidence in (Connor Hellebuyck) to make saves and we know we're going to get our chances."

The health on the blue line may be taking a positive turn though, as Maurice hinted following the road trip finale after updating Morrissey's injury situation.

"He was willing to play. We just felt with our other injuries, we couldn't afford to make it long term," said Maurice. "I think we're going to get real healthy on our blue line here in the next few days."

Confidence between the pipes

After Laurent Brossoit shut the door in overtime against the New Jersey Devils to open the trip, it was Hellebuyck's turn to follow up his friend's performance in the next two games.

Hellebuyck was in goal for the final two wins on the road trip, improving his record 12-7-1 this season.

The Commerce, Michigan native made 16 saves against the Rangers - perhaps none bigger than his third period glove save off a turnover in the Jets zone. At the time, the Jets were down 3-2, and the stop preserved his team's chance at a comeback.

Video: WPG@NYI: Hellebuyck robs Isles twice in succession

Two nights later, Hellebuyck was stellar again, this time making a highlight reel stop off Jordan Eberle to keep the game against the Islanders scoreless in the second period. He finished that game with 27 saves.

"He's had things not be easy for him. That was the first glimpse of getting a good feeling walking out of the game. He got a result and was a big part of it," said Maurice. "I wanted to try to keep that going here and get him back in the game here tonight to let him build on that, and he certainly did."

Hellebuyck has now won each of his last three starts.

"I'm just focusing on my game and it feels good right now," said Hellebuyck.

"The guys are playing in front of me are playing so well. Really all that's on my mind is to continue with it, stick with it and play our game and if I'm going to be called upon, I need to be ready. I was just waiting for my moment."

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