Michiganders lead the way as understaffed Jets beat Red Wings – Winnipeg | The Canadian News

Coming off a seven-day absence with eight players in the COVID protocol, he could have forgiven the Winnipeg Jets if they fell short in Detroit.

Instead, the Jets’ three Michigan-born products rose to the occasion in their home state, and the young players called into action performed admirably in a 3-0 win for Winnipeg over the Red Wings.

Ann Arbor’s Andrew Copp scored a pair of goals, Shelby Township’s Kyle Connor had a goal and an assist, while Commerce’s Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves for the shutout.

“There must be something in the water here, I guess,” Connor said. “We haven’t played here for a while to start with, and we spent a lot of time here, grew up here, and all three of us have idolized the Wings growing up. So, it’s a little bit more energy in our step to come here and play the Wings, and it seemed like those two had an extra team. It’s also definitely motivating to have family and friends in the stands.”

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Connor, who was selected to the NHL All-Star Game on Thursday, now has 20 goals on the season and has reached the 20-goal mark in each of his first five full NHL seasons.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Jets’ Kyle Connor chosen for 2022 NHL All-Star Game

It was the Jets’ first Motor City game in more than two full years, the last at Little Caesars Arena in December 2019.

“I think there was no secret, when we landed, they got off the plane, went up the runway and ran,” said head coach Dave Lowry. “They were excited. Maybe we should tell them more often that we’re playing in Michigan.”

Hellebuyck was coming off one of the worst games of his career after conceding seven goals to the Colorado Avalanche. But in making his seventh consecutive start, Hellebuyck recorded his second shutout of the season and the 26th of his career.

“This one will probably be in the top three,” Hellebuyck said. “It’s a different feeling coming home. You get a little more nervous, and you get a little more excited, and maybe get out of your rut a little bit because I went home and was able to spend the night in my own bed, which was nice. But, being at home in front of family and friends, people will remember it and so will I.”

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Click to Play Video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets' Connor Hellebuyck Interview – Jan 13'

RAW: Interview with Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets – January 13

RAW: Interview with Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets – January 13

With eight players on the COVID list and two others injured, the Jets had three different players in their first game with the club, and for two of them it was their NHL debut.

Defensemen Dylan Samberg and Declan Chisholm played in their first NHL game after being recalled from the Manitoba Moose this week. And both players held their ground in the shutout win against the Red Wings.

“I really liked the energy that the young guys brought to the lineup,” Lowry said. “And we challenged some of our best guys. We needed them to be our best players tonight and they rose to the challenge.”

Click to Play Video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets Dave Lowry Interview – January 13'

RAW: Interview with Dave Lowry of the Winnipeg Jets – January 13

RAW: Interview with Dave Lowry of the Winnipeg Jets – January 13

Samberg played almost 18 minutes in his NHL debut and had one assist. Chisholm recorded four shots on goal in 13:44 of frozen time.

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Moose leading scorer Austin Poganski played more than 11 minutes in his Jets debut, just 24 hours after scoring a goal and adding an assist in the Moose’s 2-0 win at Milwaukee.

Rookie Cole Perfetti also held his own by playing online with Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Jansen Harkins and Dylan DeMelo were dressed after being released from COVID protocols.

The Jets are now 5-1-1 in their last seven road games since November.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Jets’ COVID count grows, raises questions for Thursday in Detroit

Copp was the first to put the roadside on the board, beating Alex Nedeljkovic from under the goal line. Samberg earned an assist on the play for his first NHL point in his first NHL game.

Despite missing regulars Nikolaj Ehlers, Paul Stastny, Brendan Dillon and Logan Stanley, the Jets looked sharp, their transition play opening up all kinds of space in the first period, but they couldn’t press their lead.

Right after the midpoint of the second, however, a breakthrough. With the Wings on the power play, Connor found a speedy Copp who picked the top shelf to give Winnipeg a 2-0 lead.

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Detroit tried to push in the third period, but the Jets’ defense held their own, though with 4:29 to go, the Wings found themselves in a 5-on-3 and pulled the goaltender to double the Jets’ manpower. .

Winnipeg’s penalty did the job. After killing the first minor penalty, Connor buried an empty net to seal the win. The Jets blew out all five of Detroit’s power plays that night.

The Jets don’t play again until Tuesday night in Washington.

Click to Play Video: 'RAW: Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor Interview – Jan 13'

RAW: Interview with Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets – January 13

RAW: Interview with Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets – January 13

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