September 29, 2016 - 8:50 PM
WINNIPEG - It's been so far so good for Winnipeg Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey.
The left-shooting rookie wants to improve every time he steps on the ice. He thinks he's doing that after two pre-season games, including a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday in which he had a pair of assists and logged 18:08 of ice time.
"Tuesday was first-game-of-the-year feeling for me," Morrissey said of Winnipeg's 3-0 loss to his hometown Calgary Flames.
"Tonight, I definitely thought I started to make some more plays out there. Played a little more physical, had some offensive opportunities, made some good break-out passes.
"I'm just trying to get better every game, make the most of my opportunity," added the 13th-overall pick in 2013. "I think so far I've done that."
Mathieu Perreault scored on the power play and added an assist for Winnipeg (1-1-0). Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers and Andrew Copp also scored and forward Chase De Leo had a pair of helpers.
Perreault slowly left the game midway through the third period after a hit by Wild winger Kurtis Gabriel put him to the ice. There was no update after the game.
Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves for Winnipeg.
The Wild (1-2-0) iced a lineup with only a few recognizable names, including goalie Darcy Kuemper and defenceman Matt Dumba.
Dumba tallied the Wild's lone goal on the power play. Kuemper stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.
Kuemper said it's fun to watch some of his younger teammates play their first NHL game.
"Us older guys, we just try to talk to them and make it as easy as we can," he said. "Try to keep them calm and just tell them to go play."
Dumba's shot from the point 52 seconds into the second period appeared to go through a screen provided by teammate Ryan Carter for the 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, Perreault made it 1-1 with the man advantage when he poked at a loose puck that bounced off Kuemper's pad and into the net at 3:10.
Connor, Winnipeg's first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2015 NHL draft, provided the eventual game-winner at 15:00, firing in a backhand pass from veteran defenceman Mark Stuart.
Ehlers' goal at 5:12 of the third period was a solo effort, as he skated behind the net for the wrap-around marker just after a Jets power play expired.
Copp redirected in Kevin Czuczman's point shot with 1:44 left to make it 4-1.
Drew Stafford had what looked like a third-period goal, but the light didn't go on and the referee waved no goal. There are no video reviews in the pre-season.
Some key Jets are expected to play Friday in a home game against the Edmonton Oilers. Those include players who were at the World Cup - Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Dustin Byfuglien, Ondrej Pavelec and rookie Patrik Laine.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016