Jets veterans do just enough to beat Senators 5-3

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WINNIPEG — New Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness didn’t find many highlights in his team’s 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

WINNIPEG — New Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness didn’t find many highlights in his team’s 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

“I’ll never complain about a win, but listen, there’s a lot of work to do here,” Bowness said. “I thought we started to skate better in the third…but no, I’m not happy with that at all.

“For a lot of guys it was their first game, but that being said, we have to play a lot faster than that.”

Daniel Torgersson scored two goals and Kyle Connor had one goal and two assists. Mikey Eyssimont and Ville Heinola also scored for the Jets, who scored three times in the second period.

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots for Winnipeg, which missed the playoffs last season.

Bowness pointed to some veterans’ long shifts and turnovers as trouble spots.

“I just see bad habits that I don’t like. And we have to fix them,” Bowness said.

Tyler Motte and Shane Pinto each had a goal and an assist for the Senators. Cole Reinhardt also scored.

Goalkeeper Mads Sogaard started for the Sens, stopping eight of the nine shots he faced before being replaced by Kevin Mandolese after playing 29:48. Mandolese stopped 11 of 15 shots.

Pinto, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery, is expected to be center of Ottawa’s third line along with Motte and Mathieu Joseph.

Pinto said he felt better every time he got on the ice.

“Tonight I felt really good, honestly,” he said. “My timing was there. Just the little things that I feel I need to improve on were there.

The Senators fielded a roster without core players like goaltender Cam Talbot and forwards Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle.

“I think Hellebuyck is clearly probably the difference here in the end. He made some really good saves there at the end,” Senators head coach DJ Smith said. “But at five against five, I liked our game.”

Ottawa had a power play with 2:04 left in the game, but couldn’t beat Winnipeg’s veteran goaltender.

The Jets played most of their regular roster and introduced a potential new front line. Mark Scheifele centered Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers. The three have never played together on the same line.

The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and Winnipeg led 4-3 after the second.

The Jets got on the scoreboard 22 seconds after killing a penalty kick. Connor found Torgersson in the slot and the 20-year-old Swede fired a one-timer past Sogaard at 1:55 into the opening period.

“It was one of the best days in Winnipeg so far,” said Torgersson. “It was a good day, a good game, and I’m happy with the win.”

Torgersson played four games with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL last season and won a bronze medal with Sweden at the World Juniors last month.

The Senators equalized 40 seconds later when the Jets couldn’t control the puck on their side. Dylan Gambrell picked up the puck and passed it to Reinhardt, who shot high past Hellebuyck at 2:35.

The second period started with a faster pace and the Senators capitalized with some speed.

Pinto picked up the puck and ran with Motte down the ice in a two-on-one. Motte finished by beating Hellebuyck on the tackle side at 7:40 for the 2-1 lead. Joseph got the second assist.

“Responsible players,” Smith said of the line. “They work, and they work for their turnover. … They play well together.

The Jets made it 2-2 at 1:44 p.m. when Eyssimont swung a Connor shot past Mandolese 28 seconds on the power play.

Torgersson added his second of the night at 15:11, followed by Heinola’s power play goal at 19:10.

Pinto made it 4-3 when he scored with 24 seconds left in the middle frame.

Winnipeg regained a two-goal lead when a Connor shot was rebounded by Mandolese at 8:10 of the third.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 27, 2022.

Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

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