Lowry scores first goal to lift Jets over Canes
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Adam Lowry was sporting a smile and a special grey helmet after he scored his first NHL goal in Winnipeg’s 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
Lowry helped the Jets stop a four-game losing streak and his teammates made him the player of the game, so the rookie got to wear the special fighter-pilot type of headgear.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed about for a long time,” the 21-year-old Calgary native said of his first goal.
Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for the Jets (2-4-0), who earned their first home win of the season. Ondrej Pavelec had 20 saves.
Jiri Tlusty scored on the power play for Carolina (0-3-2), which is still looking for its first win and was coming off back-to-back overtime losses. Anton Khudobin made 23 stops.
Winnipeg got off to a fast start. Ladd opened the scoring with his first of the year at 1:57 of the first, and Lowry beat Khudobin 40 seconds later.
“It’s a pretty special feeling to tip it and see the puck go through (Khudobin’s) legs,” Lowry said.
Carolina coach Bill Peters said his players couldn’t overcome the bad start.
“We got away from our structure and then we were freelancing and then it just made it harder than it needs to be,” he said.
The two goals equaled the number the Jets had scored during their slide.
Grant Clitsome, who was credited with an assist on Lowry’s goal, said the players didn’t realize right away it was the rookie’s first NHL goal. If they had, he said, they would have celebrated more.
“I think spirits are good now,” Clitsome said. “It was a pressure game. We needed the win and we’ve been talking a lot about it in the room. Not only did we get the win, but I thought we played really well.
“We eliminated their chances, we shut them down along the neutral zone and didn’t give them a whole lot.”
Jeff Skinner, Carolina’s top goal scorer last season, made his season debut after missing the first four games with a concussion. Defenseman Andrej Sekera was also on the ice after sitting out the last game with an upper-body injury.
Skinner’s first game back was more memorable for the two penalties he got, and Sekera had one.
The Jets carried a power play into the third period on Skinner’s high-sticking penalty, and then had 11 seconds with a two-man advantage when Sekera was called for hooking.
“It was good to have him back, but we need Jeff Skinner, you know what I mean?” Peters said.
“People think you’re going to parachute in the lineup and be a star, it’s not the way it works. We need him to get assertive and play responsibly.”
Tlusty’s fourth goal of the season off a rebound at 7:03 of the first period was reviewed to ensure his stick touched the puck before it went past Pavelec.
Winnipeg outshot the Hurricanes 11-9 in the opening period.
The second period was scoreless until Byfuglien made it 3-1 at 16:26.
Carolina couldn’t hang on to the puck in Winnipeg’s end and Byfuglien picked it up, used his speed to stay ahead of defenseman Justin Faulk and then shot a backhand between Khudobin’s pads.
“We got some good blocks and some good second efforts at those critical times and some good saves,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
Winnipeg was 0 for 5 on the power play. The Jets haven’t scored a power-play goal this season after 19 opportunities.
Carolina was 1 for 5 with the man advantage.
NOTES: It was the first time Maurice faced his former team on home ice. He was Carolina’s coach for 775 games during two stretches in his career.