WINNIPEG – Bobby Ryan didn’t look out of place on Ottawa’s top line, but he knows chemistry takes time.
Ryan scored the winner Sunday as the Senators downed the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 in NHL pre-season action, while newly minted captain Jason Spezza had an assist and left-winger Milan Michalek scored and added an assist.
“I think there was a few opportunities for us to do things differently, and that’s just something that you learn about each other,” said Ryan, who was acquired in an off-season trade with the Anaheim Ducks.
“I know that there were a couple passes that Spezz meant for me that I thought were for Milan and they just kind of were a foot or two away and that’s a matter of me trying to read off him a little better.”
Buddy Robinson scored Ottawa’s first goal at 7:58 of the opening period and Ryan added his 26 seconds into the second to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead.
Sens defenceman Erik Karlsson had a pair of assists and Matt Halischuk scored Winnipeg’s lone goal.
Karlsson liked what he saw of the Ryan-Spezza-Michalek line.
“It’s the first game, you know everybody’s trying to feel it out a bit,” Karlsson said. “Overall, I think they looked pretty good.”
Karlsson’s shot from the point 65 seconds into the third period was redirected by Michalek past goalie Michael Hutchinson to make it 3-1. Hutchinson made 29 saves.
Robin Lehner was in goal for the Sens for the first two periods and stopped 17-of-18 shots. He was replaced by Andrew Hammond to start the third. Hammond stopped all 10 shots he faced.
Winnipeg lost its first exhibition game Saturday night in a 4-3 shootout against Washington in Belleville, Ont.
The Jets experimented to start the game and didn’t ice their usual top-line trio of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler.
Little and Wheeler skated with newcomer Michael Frolik, acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks for third- and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft.
Ladd, however, rejoined his linemates late in the opening period.
“We started with Frolik and didn’t really get much going,” Little said. “And even when Laddie came and played with us, we kind of struggled a bit still.
“We’re still trying to work out the kinks. We haven’t played a game in five months or so, so we’re just trying to shake the rust off.”
The Jets were sitting a number of their players who had suited up in Belleville, including forwards Evander Kane, Devin Setoguchi and Mark Scheifele.