The Winnipeg Jets’ chances at making the playoffs are slim, but they’ve let the NHL know they haven’t given up.
The Jets swept a brief two-game road trip with a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night. The victory came on the heels of a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators the night before.
Jets interim coach Dave Lowry’s reasoning for the consecutive starts was simple.
“We’re still fighting for every game. We’re in desperation mode right now,” Lowry said. “It would be no different if we were in a playoff series and we were going back-to-back. That was the conversation, we had an understanding that we have to win every game here and just take care of business each and every night”
With the win, the Jets (35-28-11) are now five points away from the Dallas Stars and the second wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, the Stars have two games in hand on the Jets.
WATCH l Habs fall to Jets in Montreal:
‘We know where we’re at’
Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey said players know what they’re up against, but added that there’s no sense of panic in the locker room.
“I don’t think you can really afford to talk about that,” Morrissey said. “I mean, we’re just trying to win games, get two points, one point, whatever we can do. [We] hope to get some help from other teams, but I don’t think we really talk about anything bigger than the next game.
“You can’t really look too far in the future. We know where we’re at.”
The Canadiens opened the scoring with a goal by Joel Armia, then Josh Anderson tied the game 2-2 in the third period. But even with the strain of five periods over 24 hours in their legs, the Jets rallied and Evgeny Svechnikov scored the game-winner in the third period.
Samuel Montembeault tried his mightiest to keep Montreal (20-42-11) in the game. The netminder had played second fiddle to Jake Allen until his injury in Montreal’s 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs last Saturday.
In his first start since March 27, Montembeault made 31 saves — 15 in the second period alone.
“Before Jake came in, Sam gave us great games as well,” said Habs interim coach Martin St. Louis. “It’s an opportunity for Sam to grab the net and to do his job. He gave us a big chance tonight. He was excellent again and I’m not surprised.
“I’m happy with the work I’m doing currently. I didn’t see a lot of action at the moment but I think it’s going well and I’m working well. It’s just unfortunate that I got caught on my heels on the third goal.”
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With Allen’s eventual return from injury and Carey Price’s looming comeback, Montembeault hoped that Canadiens front office noticed his work ethic through a chaotic 2021-22 season.
“It was a bit of a weird year,” Montembeault said. “I wasn’t seeing a lot of action, then I played almost every game, then back to not seeing action, then Jake gets injured. It’s been a rollercoaster this season but I worked hard on improving myself. I hope that the executives saw that and if I have a chance to stay in Montreal, that would be my first option.”
Anderson notched his 100th career goal for Montreal and Armia scored against his former team.
After a scoreless first period, the Canadiens got on the board 29 seconds after the intermission.
Armia backhanded the puck out of mid-air and past Hellebuyck for his sixth goal of the season
Winnipeg responded when Nikolaj Ehlers made a backwards pass for Barron, who levelled the score with a wrist shot.
The Jets scored the go-ahead marker at 4:00 of the second period when Stastny scored on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle.
Anderson deflected Jeff Petry’s shot from the point to tie the game 2-2 at 6:19 of the third period.
The Jets drove the length of the ice and stars Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor combined with Svechnikov for the visitors’ game-winning goal. Lowry added the empty-netter, clinching Winnipeg’s back-to-back road wins.
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