By Carter Brooks
Photo by James Carey Lauder
According to Head Coach Paul Maurice, the Winnipeg Jets played like "horses**t" on Thursday in Montreal.
He wasn't wrong... The Jets gave up 53 shots on goal, including five that found the twine, while only putting up two goals against the 31-18-6 Canadiens. Even in picking up the loss, Connor Hellebuyck made 48 stops, but did not receive much support on the defensive side of things.
No defenceman on the team finished the game as a 'plus' player, while only Andrew Copp, Brendan Lemieux and Mason Appleton registered a plus/minus over 0. After Mark Scheifele scored the first goal of the game for Winnipeg, the Jets allowed five-straight goals from the Habs, before Lemieux responded late in the third period for Winnipeg's final marker of the game.
The Jets received a boost to the back end as Dustin Byfuglien made his return to the lineup for the first time since December 29th. He finished the game with three blocks, three shots and a hit in 25:32 of ice time. Although getting Byfuligen back from injury, Winnipeg was also without Josh Morrissey for the third time this season, as the Jets' top blueliner suffered a lower-body injury blocking a shot against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
"I'm feeling good, had a good skate today," Morrissey said following Friday's practice. "I am feeling a lot better, but we will have to see tomorrow... Anyone who has blocked a shot knows that the first couple minutes aren't very much fun, and you just hope it settles down and you can keep going. But It was just one of those shots that stung a little bit more than the other ones do, and it's unfortunate."
Through 51 games, the 23-year-old has six goals and a career-high 29 points this season. His addition to Saturday's lineup would be a huge boost for a Jets team looking to avoid losing its second-straight. Winnipeg takes on Ottawa in a 1:00 P.M. central Saturday matinee contest, before travelling to Buffalo for a second afternoon game in as many days with a 2:00 P.M. start time. Saturday's matchup will be available on Sportsnet, while Sunday's battle will be shown live on TSN3.