Jets pick up crucial two points in 2-1 win over Arizona – Winnipeg |

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but with the end of the regular season in sight, the Winnipeg Jets will take two points however they can.

The Jets got a pair of first period goals, weathered a massive storm in the second and clamped things down in the third to edge the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 Tuesday night.

It looked like the start might be another bad one for the Jets when Josh Morrissey was called for hooking just 29 seconds in, but if there’s been one constant through the Jets’ inconsistent run of play, it’s been their penalty kill, which took care of business.

A few minutes later, Winnipeg broke through and opened the scoring. Nikolaj Ehlers intercepted a pass at the Jets blue line and skated in alone on Karel Vejmelka.

The Arizona keeper denied the first shot but Ehlers buried the rebound to give the Jets the opening goal, just the second time in the past 11 games that Winnipeg scored first.

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Arizona got a second crack on the man advantage just past the midway point of the period but it was Winnipeg who cashed in.

Neal Pionk made a beautiful stretch pass to Morgan Barron to spark a 2-on-1. Barron sauced a pass to Adam Lowry who blasted it past Vejmelka to make it 2-0. It was Lowry’s third shorthanded goal of the year.

Winnipeg carried that 2-0 lead into the intermission but the Coyotes roared to life in the second period, dominating time of possession and hemming the Jets in their own end.

They came oh-so-close to getting on the board after hitting a post, but in the ensuing scramble, with Connor Hellebuyck out of position, the puck was sent toward the open net but Hellebuyck laid his stick across the goal line and kept it out.

After a number of close calls, Arizona finally broke through at the 11:46 mark. Hellebuyck made the initial save on a weak backhand shot but couldn’t control the rebound and Barrett Hayton banged home the rebound to make it a 2-1 game.

Winnipeg got a chance with the man advantage a couple of minutes later but the power play did nothing, prompting some boos from the home crowd.

Arizona kept their foot down through the rest of the period, pouring pressure on Hellebuyck who faced 18 shots in the frame compared to just three for Vejmelka, but it remained a 2-1 game through 40 minutes.

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The Jets looked far more composed in the third period, managing to keep the Coyotes in their own end for longer stretches.

It didn’t hurt that most of the first half of the period was spent on the power play, thanks to a holding call and a double-minor for high-sticking but the moribund specialty unit again came up empty.

The Coyotes couldn’t generate much of a push as the third wore on, dooming themselves with a tripping penalty with 1:43 to go.

Winnipeg outshot the Coyotes 12-5 in the final frame to secure the win and maintain their edge on the Flames and Predators in the wild card chase.

Hellebuyck was named the first star of the game, making 29 saves for the win while Vejmelka stopped 23 shots on the night.

Winnipeg will now head out west for a three-game road trip starting Thursday night in Anaheim. Pregame coverage on 680 CJOB begins at 6:30 p.m. with the puck dropping just after 9 p.m.

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