Jets shut out Sabres

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Keaton Ellerby (7) celebrates his goal against the Buffalo Sabres with...

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Keaton Ellerby (7) celebrates his goal against the Buffalo Sabres with teammates Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little during NHL hockey in Winnipeg Tuesday, December 31, 2013. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:40 PM ET

Winnipeg Jets fans raised a glass to their favourite team on New Year’s Eve.

The Jets closed out 2013 with their first three-game win streak since mid-November, getting past the Buffalo Sabres, 3-0, Tuesday night.

Al Montoya stopped 27 shots in his second straight start as the Jets handed the NHL’s most anemic offence its sixth shutout of the season.

“It was pretty simple — just get to that first shot,” Montoya said. “Get big, get to that first shot and they did a heck of a job clearing rebounds after that.”

The Jets scored once in each period and played reasonably sound defensively in improving their record to 19-18-5, with a three-game road trip through Ottawa, Boston and Pittsburgh looming in the New Year.

Who’ll be the team’s goalie to start the trip?

Head coach Claude Noel wasn’t ready to say, even though Montoya has won his last six starts.

“I’m fully aware of what Al Montoya is doing,” Noel said. “You’ve got to give him full credit. You can’t lose sight of the fact that Pavelec is our starting goalie. That’s not to say Montoya is not going to play. I’m not sure who will start the next game.

“These things are like your special teams... they kind of go in cycles. Right now he’s riding a good cycle. I don’t like to make it a bigger issue than it really is.”

Winnipeg kicks off its three-game road trip in Ottawa, Thursday.

Winnipeg got the first goal Tuesday from an unlikely source, defenceman Keaton Ellerby’s wrist shot from the point somehow beating Sabres backup goalie Jhonas Enroth, even though it appeared to be heading wide of the net. Enroth played the puck with his right leg, directing it into the net, for Ellerby’s second goal of the season.

The Jets got a break when an apparent goal by Marcus Foligno late in the first period was waved off because the Winnipeg net was slightly off its moorings.

Rookie defenceman Jacob Trouba, set up for a one-time blast by Chris Thorburn, gave the Jets a 2-0 second-period lead. It was Trouba’s third goal of the season.

Anthony Peluso added an empty-net goal in the final minute, after Evander Kane passed up a goal to his fourth-line teammate.

Montoya had to be sharpest in the first period, as Buffalo had more than six minutes of power play time, including a double-minor to Blake Wheeler.

“It wasn’t as well-played as we played in Colorado,” Noel said. “We did some things good. We did the necessary things to win. It was a little more challenging to win this game. I don’t know that there was a great deal of comfort in the way we played. We managed the game OK. We’re going to have to be better when we go on this road trip.”


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