Jets halt skid with win over Red Wings

Jason Bell, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Winnipeg Jets got a much-needed offensive spark from some of their lesser lights Monday night as the club snapped a three-game losing streak.
Right-winger Matt Halischuk scored his first goal as a Jet early in the third period and rookie center Mark Scheifele registered a pair of assists as the hosts beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 at the MTS Centre.
Halischuk, signed as a free agent during the offseason, took a perfect pass from center Michael Frolik and beat goalie Jimmy Howard cleanly to break a 2-2 tie at 4:27 of the final frame, and captain Andrew Ladd scored about six minutes later to give the Jets a two-goal cushion.
Frolik and center Bryan Little also scored for the Jets (6-8-2), who rebounded from Saturday's pitiful 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Detroit (9-5-2) got goals from center Henrik Zetterberg and defenseman Danny DeKeyser but saw its three-game winning streak end. The loss wrapped up an otherwise tremendous road trip through Western Canada that included victories in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
The Jets led 1-0 through 20 minutes, and the game was tied 2-2 through two periods.
The trio of Scheifele-Frolik-Halischuk was dangerous all night long and could have added a few more goals had it not been for the stellar play of Howard.
He was badly overworked, stopping 43 of 47 shots.
"We've been talking about it the last few games. We've been creating a lot of chances and I think the biggest thing is we're communicating really well and supporting each other on the ice really well," said Scheifele. "I think we just want to keep building on that."
Scheifele made a great pass through traffic to a streaking Frolik for the Jets' second goal and then won a battle behind the net to start the play that Halischuk finished.
"Goals went in and I was able to get a few points," he said. "But the biggest thing is I thought I was playing well defensively. I was supporting the puck really well. I was in the right spots, reloading on the forecheck and I think that's what helped me do so good tonight."
Scheifele, the Jets' first-ever draft choice in 2011, has struggled mightily at times this season, and there's some suggestion he would be better served playing for the club's AHL affiliate in St. John's, Newfoundland.
But Halischuk is seeing signs the 20-year-old center is ready to break out.
"He's really doing great on his draws lately. He's holding on to the puck and making plays, so it's nice to be able to play with him," said Halischuk.
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock said his club lacked energy against the Jets.
"I thought our penalty kill and our goaltending gave us a really good chance to win. But we did nothing with the puck. We didn't have them under any pressure at any time. It was an easy night for their goaltender," said Babcock.
"What I like about the trip was we played right three out of the four games. But I didn't think we were great tonight in any way. But you have to give the opposition credit, too. They were at home. They gave up five goals the other night (against Chicago) and they were ready to skate. I thought they played hard and we didn't play hard enough, or didn't have the energy to play hard enough."
The Jets gave goalie Ondrej Pavelec the night off, and backup Al Montoya was solid, making 26 saves for his second win of the year.
"You can't ask for much more from our guys out there," said Montoya. "We did a very good job against a very offensive team, against a very skilled team. It just goes to show we can play against anyone on any given night."
"This is a big statement win for us. Whatever it means out there, who cares. For us in this locker room, it's huge."
The Red Wings play their next three games at home, beginning with a Thursday night contest against the Dallas Stars.
The Jets head to Chicago for a game Wednesday against the Blackhawks. They return to Winnipeg for a battle with the Nashville Predators on Friday.
NOTES: The Red Wings made their first visit to Winnipeg since April 28, 1996 -- a 4-1 playoff victory and the Jets' last game before the franchise left for Phoenix. ... The Jets were without LW Evander Kane, a late scratch due to a lower-body injury. ... It took just 18 seconds for Jets RW Chris Thornburn and Red Wings RW Jordin Tootoo to engage in a spirited scrap. Tootoo, 30, was born in Churchill, a community 1,000 miles north of Winnipeg on Hudson Bay and the self-proclaimed polar bear capital of the world. ... While the Jets occupy the cellar of the Central Division, a source of strength has been their penalty killing. Coming into the game, the club was tied with the Red Wings for the 11th-best penalty-kill efficiency in the NHL at 83.6 percent. ... Detroit RW Daniel Alfredsson has 47 career points in 46 games against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise, though he didn't add to the total Monday. ... Ladd is tied with Buffalo LW Matt Moulson and Los Angeles C Anze Kopitar for the NHL lead in shootout goals with three this season. ... D Dustin Byfuglien has the most shots on goal (52) of any player in the league without a goal this season.

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