Patrik Laine spurs comeback win for Winnipeg Jets in home opener

24/01/2019 Posted by admin

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets rode the momentum of Patrik Laine’s first career NHL goal as they battled from three goals down to win their season opener. The Jets picked up a hard fought 5-4 overtime victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at MTS Centre. Mark Scheifele finished a thrilling comeback, scoring the overtime winner.

For the better part of the first two periods the Jets were outplayed by the Hurricanes. But after trailing 4-1 in the third period, the Jets seemed to feed off the energy of the crowd after Laine scored a beautiful goal in his first NHL game.

“I was just getting more and more into the game in the third period.” said Laine. “And after the goal it was just easy to go out there and do my thing and get the confidence back. It was just nice to go out there and play hockey.”

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Laine also had an assist for a two point night to kick off his NHL career. And he seemed to find another gear after netting his first goal.

“I think once you saw him pop that one in, he took off.” said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. “It wasn’t just the chances he was creating, he was winning pretty much every puck battle. He looked like a real force out there.”

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“Obviously when you see a guy get his first goal, that’s awesome for him and awesome for the team.” said Scheifele. “Especially a guy like Patty, a big pick for us and a guy that’s going to be such a big contributor for years to come.”

Wheeler, Shawn Matthias, and Mathieu Perreault scored the other goals for the Jets. But it was a struggle for the first two periods.

“We want to leave this rink here with the idea that we played poorly for 45 minutes of that game.” said head coach Paul Maurice. “That had we just played well, it would have been like the last 15 minutes of the third all night and 15-0.”

Connor Hellebuyck made the opening night start in goal for the Jets and stopped 23 of the 27 shots he faced.

The Hurricanes got goals from Jeff Skinner, Lee Stempniak, Jordan Staal and Victor Rask.

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The Jets took the early lead just four minutes into the game. Newcomer Shawn Matthias sent the pass in front to Toby Enstrom. His one-timer ricocheted back to Matthias behind the net and he banked in the shot off Ward. Matthias’ first goal with the Jets had Winnipeg out in front. Bryan Little drew the other assists.

After killing off a Jets 5-on-3 man advantage, former Jets forward Lee Stempniak spotted Skinner in the slot. Hellebuyck made the first stop but Skinner knocked in his own rebound. It was 1-1 through the opening period with the Hurricanes outshooting the Jets 10-6.

The Hurricanes took their first lead five minutes into period number two. Noah Hanifin unloaded a canon from the blueline and his shot deflected in off Stempniak. Skinner picked up the other assist on the powerplay goal.

The Hurricanes extended their lead with only 31 seconds left in the middle stanza. Dustin Byfuglien gloved down the puck but got all tangled up with Viktor Stalberg. The official signaled a delayed penalty on Byfuglien just as Staal fired in the loose puck. Jets fans reigned down the boos, upset Stalberg wasn’t assessed a minor penalty. Carolina had a 3-1 lead after two periods. The shots were 11-7 for the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes added another goal on a man advantage early in the final frame. From the top of the circle Rask handcuffed Hellebuyck, beating him glove side for a 4-1 lead. Sebastian Aho and Justin Faulk had the assists for Carolina.

But a mere nine seconds later, Skinner turned the puck over at the blueline. He handed it right to Wheeler who skated in all alone and tucked it in the five-hole on Ward for a shorthanded marker. Wheeler’s first goal of the season was unassisted. The Jets trailed by two.

The MTS Centre erupted with 6:27 left in regulation. Laine with a perfect shot, ripped it off the post and in for his first career goal. Enstrom and Kyle Connor had the helpers. The powerplay goal pulled the Jets within one.

Then with just 89 seconds remaining, Laine sent the puck across to Wheeler. He found Perreault in front who re-directed the puck past Ward. The building erupted with the game tied 4-4. The Hurricanes challenged the goal but it was upheld through review to send the game to overtime.

Midway through the extra period the Jets broke in on a 2-on-1. Wheeler spotted Scheifele who buried the one-timer for the game winner.

Little suffered what appeared to be a knee injury in a first period collision and did not return.

The Jets also revealed their new goal song after Matthias’ first period tally. The Jets will play Van Halen’s “Jump” after each and every Jets goal this season.

The Jets are scheduled to practice in Winnipeg on Friday before leaving to Minnesota where they’ll face the Wild on Saturday.

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