WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets appear to have used the Christmas break to get a fresh restart on their sub-par season. While two wins after the hiatus are a good start, defenceman Jacob Trouba says the reset button was pressed even earlier.
“I think even going back before Christmas, we’d be playing how we wanted to play,” Trouba said. “I think we ran into some hot goaltenders. But it’s all about our character keep playing the same style knowing it’s going to work for us.”
Trouba’s short-handed blast in the first period opened the scoring for the Jets (17-17-2), who also had goals from Andrew Ladd, with the game winner, and Alexander Burmistrov.
It was the second straight win for the Jets, who beat Pittsburgh 1-0 on Sunday to end a run of four losses in five games.
Pavel Datsyuk scored on a power play for the Red Wings (18-12-7).
Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck was solid once again for the Jets, stopping 33 shots to improve to 7-3-0 in his rookie season.
“I thought the team played really well in front of me,” Hellebuyck said. “Getting that early lead was huge and we set the pace from there. The penalty kills right off the start were huge, we blocked a lot of shots and you could tell the guys wanted to pay the price tonight.”
Jimmy Howard began the night in goal for the Red Wings but was chased from the crease in the second period for the second consecutive start after allowing four goals on 14 shots.
Howard was credited with the loss and fell to 7-5-4.
“Simple as that, it wasn’t good enough for the guys one again,” Howard said. “It wasn’t good enough and I need to be better. I’ve got to find a way to stay sharp, find a way to just be out there competing for the guys. It’s unacceptable.”
The Jets found themselves short handed early as Adam Lowry sat for four minutes following a high sticking infraction. But some textbook penalty killing led to the team’s sixth short-handed goal of the year.
Drew Stafford found Trouba, who was the trail man on a 3-on-2 rush, and the defenceman buried his shot just under the bar at 4:27.
“We knew they’d be attacking on the PK and they had a good chance, actually they had a few chances, and they scored,” Datsyuk said. “When they scored on our high-stick power play, it changed the game.”
Winnipeg doubled its lead on a 5-on-3 just past the midway point of the period. Ladd fired home his 10th after Wheeler picked out his captain from behind the red line at 10:29.
The Jets went up 3-0 4:13 into the second period as Burmistrov snapped a 22-game goalless drought with his third of the season.
The Russian, who spent the last two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, picked the puck up in the neutral zone raced in on the off-wing, snapping a wrist shot high and past Howard.
The goal was the third in nine shots for the Jets.
“We didn’t really force the offence, we let it come to us and we bore down and buried our chances,” Trouba said.
Trouba scored his second on a blast from the point to make it 4-0. That was it for Howard, who gave up four goals on 14 shots.
Petr Mrazek took his place in the Red Wings’ goal.
Detroit got on the scoreboard 1:52 in the final period as Datsyuk scored from the high slot for his first power-play goal of the season.