By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets got their vengeance against the Buffalo Sabres on New Year’s Eve at the MTS Centre with a 3-0 victory.
How it happened: The Sabres came out outplayed the Jets in the first few minutes of the game and had a few good chances. Al Montoya played sharp from the get-go, however, and turned aside all 10 shots he faced in the first frame. The Jets capitalized on some weak goaltender from Jhonas Enroth when defenceman Keaton Ellerby let a soft shot go from the point that deflected off Enroth’s blocker and into the net behind him. The Jets were lucky to take a 1-0 lead into the dressing room.
The second period started on the penalty kill for the Jets who killed of their fourth of the night at that point. The period was more back and forth with both teams exchanging chances. Jacob Trouba gave the Jets a two-goal cushion on a clapper as he gained the Sabres zone. Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful period.
The Jets played shutdown hockey in the third. With the Enroth pulled for the extra skater, Evander Kane unselfishly found Anthony Peluso for the empty net marker.
It wasn’t their best display on the night but it was a comfortable 3-0 win for the Jets.
Shots: 27-26 for the Sabres.
What it means: The win is the Jets third straight and combined with the sixth-straight loss for the Minnesota Wild, has them within two points of their division rivals for fourth in the Central. At the time of filing, the Dallas Stars were still playing and could take sole possession of fourth with a win over the L.A. Kings.
Jets player of the game: Jacob Trouba. The 19-year old was a presence on the ice for the Jets all night, leading the team in ice-time and scoring his third of the season.
Jets stat of the game: The 50/50 was a lot of money, I didn’t win. That sucks. Anyways, Al Montoya improved his record to 8-2-1 on the season with the shutout, one shy of his career mark of nine. Jacob Trouba scored his third goal of the season and led the Jets in time on-ice for the fifth time this year.
What is next for the Jets: The Jets head will now head out on the road for three games on an eastern road swing. The Jets will play three in four nights starting with the Ottawa Senators on the 2nd before facing the Bruins and Penguins on the 4th and 5th respectively.