Jets’ top blue-line pair loading up on points

Winnipeg’s shutdown defensive pairing of Josh Morrissey and Jacob Trouba is enjoying an offensive outburst to start the 2018-19 NHL season.

Morrissey is tied with left-winger Kyle Connor for the club scoring lead with seven points, including one goal, in eight games. Trouba, meanwhile, has five assists in eight games heading into tonight’s matchup with the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues.

Game time at Bell MTS Place is 7 p.m.

“He’s been great,” Trouba said, referring to his partner’s offensive prowess. “Even missing a little bit of training camp (while negotiating a new contract), he took care of himself and kept himself ready. He didn’t miss a beat. That’s a player that I’ve at least always seen — I think everyone on our team has seen— he has that capability in practice and what he’s done before he got here. He’s a good player. Now you guys are seeing it.”

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Winnipeg’s shutdown defensive pairing of Josh Morrissey and Jacob Trouba is enjoying an offensive outburst to start the 2018-19 NHL season.

Morrissey is tied with left-winger Kyle Connor for the club scoring lead with seven points, including one goal, in eight games. Trouba, meanwhile, has five assists in eight games heading into tonight’s matchup with the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues.

Game time at Bell MTS Place is 7 p.m.

“He’s been great,” Trouba said, referring to his partner’s offensive prowess. “Even missing a little bit of training camp (while negotiating a new contract), he took care of himself and kept himself ready. He didn’t miss a beat. That’s a player that I’ve at least always seen — I think everyone on our team has seen— he has that capability in practice and what he’s done before he got here. He’s a good player. Now you guys are seeing it.”

Morrissey inked a two-year, US$6.3-million pact midway through training camp and has been on a roll since assuming the job of quarterbacking the club’s No. 1 power-play unit when Dustin Byfuglien suffered an upper-body injury in practice, causing him to miss two games.

Trouba, who was awarded a one-year, US$5.5-million contract by an arbitrator in the off-season, said his chemistry with Morrissey isn’t complicated.

“I think we just complement each other well,” said Trouba, in his sixth season with the Jets.

“We’ve kind of played long enough together that we know each other’s tendencies. We know where the other guy is going to be, what they’re thinking and what they want to do. It makes it pretty easy to play. We both, I don’t know. I don’t really have an answer for you there. It just kind of clicks.”

At this rate, both defencemen will easily eclipse career bests for point production. Trouba said his approach to offence hasn’t changed.

“Just try to play the game the right way,” he said. “You can make those plays and sometimes they don’t go in…. But you don’t want to change the way you’re playing to try to create more of that stuff. We have a role of playing good defence and that’s our main focus.”

NOTES: Defenceman Robert Bortuzzo (lower-body injury) comes out for the Blues. Jay Bouwmeester goes back in after being an healthy scratch for the first time in his career Saturday…. Connor Hellebuyck and Jake Allen are the expected starters in net.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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