By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets started the Maurice Era off with style, dispatching the Phoenix Coyotes 5-1 on Monday night at the MTS Centre.
How it happened: Did someone say revival? Not quite. But the Jets did some things in the first period that would make a person with perfect vision question their eyesight. Even with Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s power play marker to open the scoring, the Jets quickly tied things up – 36 seconds quick – on Olli Jokinen’s 12th of the year. The Jets enjoyed no fewer than four power plays in the first period but couldn’t convert on any of them. Eric O’Dell scored his second goal in as many games at the 18:00 mark to give the Jets the 2-1 lead. The Jets outshot the Coyotes 12-7 in the period.
With eyes adjusted, the Jets played a similar, high-tempo game in the second. They were rewarded as well as Blake Wheeler scored his 17th of the season on a nice pass from Mark Scheifele. Scheifele, with the apple, recorded his 14th point in his past 16 games and his 17 assists on the season leads the NHL in the rookie department. The Jets looked composed and motivated. It is early, but repeat performances like this in the days to come could bode well for fans.
The third? You guessed it! More of the same from the Jets and it once again paid off. Michael Frolik scored his 10th of the season on a weak snapshot that beat Mike Smith. Frolik’s goal made him the seventh Jets player with 10 or more goals on the season. Then it happened. After 18 games without a goal, one Devin Setoguchi woke up and potted one home to make it 5-1. We saw it all tonight, folks.
Shots: 38-19 Jets
What it means: The Jets collect their first win after losing their last five. Paul Maurice makes a favourable impression as well, adding his first win as the Jets new head coach in his first game in charge.
Jets player of the game: Can I use the firing of Claude Noel as the player of the game? If not, then the whole team. They came flying out of the gate. And even when down a goal, they battled back without hesitation. Devin Setoguchi scored his first goal in 18 games.
Jets stat of the game: Eric O’Dell keeps scoring, potting home his second goal in as many games. Not bad for a guy making the most of his limited ice-time. The Jets also scored five goals.
What is next for the Jets: The Jets will take their “new” show on the road for one game and will try to avenge a 5-4 shootout loss to one of the few teams worse then themselves: the Calgary Flames. That game is on Thursday with the Jets back at the MTS Centre on Saturday to face the Oilers.