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Winnipeg Loses Fifth Straight as Jets Fall to Bruins 2-1

January 31, 2020 11:04 PM | The Canadian Press

By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

Laurent Brossoit

Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron (37) scores on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) as Anthony Bitetto (2) defends during first-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday, January 31, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — Bruce Cassidy saw a puck hit the mask of Tuukka Rask and was worried for his goalie that had just come back from a concussion, but the Boston Bruins coach didn’t have to worry for long.

Rask made 37 saves in a 2-1 victory on Friday that handed the Winnipeg Jets their fifth straight loss.

“Rask was terrific,” Cassidy said of the veteran, who suffered a concussion from a hit in a Jan. 14 game against Columbus.

“He’d missed some time. Got hit in the head with one (puck tonight), so clearly that you’re always worried because he’s come off a concussion. Played well, tracked pucks well.”

Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk each scored power-play goals. David Pastrnak contributed a pair of assists for Boston (30-10-12).

Patrik Laine scored for the Jets (25-23-4), who couldn’t capitalize on five power plays in the second period. Winnipeg has lost seven of its last eight games.

DeBrusk was left open on his game-winner after Jets defenceman Anthony Bitetto and forward Andrew Copp literally got tangled up and fell down.

“I’ve never seen that, a skate loop,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “It’s Andrew’s skate lace that catches the back of the guard on Bitetto’s skate and pulls him down as they lock skates.

“I’ve never seen that. That’s what’s going on right now. Tough one.”

Laurent Brossoit stopped 23 shots for the Jets, who are starting a three-game homestand.

“I had no idea what (his skate lace) caught on, then I looked down and saw it was that,” Copp said. “Less than one-in-a-million play.”

The defeat extended Winnipeg’s longest losing streak of the season. The Jets are also 1-7-1 in their past nine homes games, and Friday’s game began a schedule featuring nine of their next 10 games at home.

The game was tied 1-1 after the first and second periods.

Winnipeg opened the scoring when Nikolaj Ehlers sped around the back of the net and then fed the puck across the front to Laine, who fired in his 18th goal of the season past Rask at 6:06.

Bergeron scored his 22nd with three seconds remaining in a two-man advantage at 19:07.

The Jets’ first of five power plays in the second period began early, but all came up empty.

Laine couldn’t explain why.

“I think we’d have two points if I would know,” Laine said. “I think we had more than enough chances to bury, myself included. I had a couple crossbars, posts — a lot of good chances but couldn’t score.”

The first advantage started at 2:11 when Boston defenceman Matt Grzelcyk was called for hooking Blake Wheeler.

That became a two-man advantage after Ehlers and Brad Marchand collided and started fighting. Marchand got an extra roughing penalty for the clash at 3:28.

The two-man edge continued when Bruins defenceman Brandon Carlo got called for delay of game at 4:17. Charlie Coyle was then sent to the box for tripping at 7:07.

By the time those penalties expired, Winnipeg had nine shots on goal and Boston zero.

The visitors would get their first shot on Brossoit a few seconds later, but then Carlo was dinged for instigating at 10:10.

The period ended with Boston blue-liner Torey Krug called for holding as time expired.

“I think then first period my rebound control wasn’t where it could have been, but after that I kind of found the pucks and hung onto them,” Rask said. “I wasn’t worried.”

Laine hit the crossbar during the early power play in the third, but Boston went on the man advantage when Sami Niku was sent off for slashing at 2:35.

“Obviously too many penalties,” Cassidy said. “To go down 5-on-3, some were warranted and some weren’t.”

DeBrusk scored his goal 32 seconds later after Pastrnak went around the back of the net and sent a pass across to him just outside the crease at 3:07.

Rask stopped a blast by Ehlers in the final minute.

Winnipeg finished 0 for 6 and Boston was 2 for 4 on the power play.

The Jets hosts St. Louis Saturday night and Boston travels to Minnesota for a Saturday game against the Wild.

CP - The Canadian Press