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Jets, Habs look for more offensive punch

Sportsnaut
Oct 27, 2022; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) skates with the puck during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The host Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens will each be looking for a bounce-back win on Thursday after struggling offensively in their previous game.

The Jets were held to just 24 shots in a 2-1 loss in overtime to the host Las Vegas Knights on Sunday, when Jack Eichel scored the game winner with seven seconds left. The Canadiens are coming off a 4-1 loss to the host Minnesota Wild on Tuesday when they scored once on 35 shots.

The Jets’ loss ended their three-game winning streak, while the Canadiens’ setback ended a two-game winning streak that came on the heels of a two-game losing slide.

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (4-2-1, 2.41 GAA) made 46 saves against the Golden Knights.

The Jets took a 1-0 lead on Adam Lowry’s goal 13 seconds into the third period, but Mark Stone equalized at the 7:13 mark before Eichel won it in overtime.

“It’s attention to detail. We talk about it, we’ve done our homework on it, we’re prepared for it, it’s just a matter of execution,” Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon said. “(Hellebuyck) played fantastic and I think, credit to us for finding a way to get it to overtime. We know we can be a lot better than that.

“Clearly, we didn’t deserve to win that one. We found different ways to win the first two. We have to be way better.”

The Jets, who had outscored their opponents 13-6 during their three-game winning streak, are led by center Mark Scheifele (team-high six goals), forward Blake Wheeler (two goals, five assists) and defenseman Josh Morrissey, whose team-high eight points have all come on assists.

“Right now I know how important every single point is,” Hellebuyck said. “Halfway through the season we’re going to be looking at numbers and crunching to see who we need to beat and stuff like that. It’s important to get it now.”

The Canadiens gave up three second-period goals to the Wild to fall behind 3-0 before center Nick Suzuki’s goal trimmed it to 3-1 with 6:30 left in the game. Matt Boldy’s empty-net goal with a little more than three minutes left sealed Minnesota’s victory.

Jake Allen (3-4-0, 2.88 GAA) made 27 saves for the Canadiens, who outshot the Wild 35-31 and won 62 percent of faceoffs.

“I felt like we outplayed them for the whole game almost,” Suzuki said. “(We’re) always battling, we know we’re never out of it down two, down three. We’ve got the talent to come back and guys to make big plays.”

Montreal is led by Suzuki’s 11 points (five goals, team-high six assists) and forward Cole Caufield’s team-high seven goals and three assists.

The Canadiens entered Wednesday averaging just 2.8 goals per game, which ranks only ahead of Toronto (2.7), Philadelphia (2.66) and Columbus (2.6) in the Eastern Conference.

The Jets have dominated the Canadiens recently, winning five of the past six meetings dating to a 4-3 win on March 18, 2021.

–Field Level Media