Jets beat Wild 2-0; Connor Hellebuyck posts third shutout
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves and Mark Scheifele scored a power-play goal as the Winnipeg Jets defeated Minnesota 2-0 on Tuesday night, halting the Wild’s six-game winning streak.
It was Hellebuyck’s third shutout this season and 27th of his career. Minnesota hadn’t been shut out this season.
“(Teammate Adam Lowry) had some huge fights, got our momentum going,” Hellebuyck said. “The crowd was there, or at least half of them, so that was an exciting game to play.”
Nate Schmidt added an empty-net goal for the Jets and Kyle Connor had a pair of assists.
Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 27 shots for Minnesota (28-11-4), which entered the game on a season-high, 10-game point streak (9-1-1)). A season-best, six-game point streak on the road also ended (5-1-1).
The Jets (19-17-7) were cheered by 7,012 fans after Manitoba COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed Tuesday to allow 50% capacity at Canada Life Centre. Capacity is just over 15,300.
“We didn’t get to our game,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “I was going to say we didn’t get it quick enough, but I don’t think we got to it at all.
“We had offensive zone time. Pucks were bouncing, but we didn’t get to the net like we should have. There was a pile of rebounds there. (The Jets) did a real good job of collapsing, protecting the slot and we didn’t do a good enough job of having more will to get to that area for us that we normally do.”
Winnipeg is now 3-6-2 in its last 11 games.
“I think it’s playing start to finish,” Jets coach Dave Lowry said. “That’s the biggest thing.
“We all know that this is a tough division to win in. When you look at the style and you look at the teams, this is the way you have to play. You have to play start to finish and usually the games are physical.”
The Jets led 1-0 after a fast, heavy-hitting first period. Scheifele scored his 11th goal of the season during Winnipeg’s second power play of the opening period, at 8:57.
The man advantage came after simultaneous fights at center ice between Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon and Wild forward Jordan Greenway, and Winnipeg forward Adam Lowry and Minnesota forward Marcus Foligno. Greenway picked up extra time in the penalty box for roughing.
“I see Foligno kind of going into jump in and I’m just trying to do my part and help (Dillon) out,” Lowry said.
Evason viewed it a lot differently – and dangerously.
“If you watch the hit, (Foligno) releases the puck, he takes three strides and then gets blindsided,” Evason said.
“If you’re a hockey player, you’re not expecting to get hammered from the backside like that. I mean, that’s the hit that we don’t want in the game, you know – blind, has no idea it’s coming, extremely late. That’s not a hockey hit. If he has the puck and whatever, maybe, but even still it’s so blindsided.”
Scheifele took a pass across the front of the net from Kyle Connor and fired a shot high on Kahkonen’s stick side.
Hellebuyck was the difference-maker in the second period. He snagged Kirill Kaprizov’s wrister with his glove, then denied Minnesota’s attempts during its first power play of the game late in the period.
Shots on goal were 17 apiece after the middle frame.
Kahkonen excelled early in the third, stopping Scheifele on a breakaway. He then turned aside three shots when Winnipeg got its third power play.
Lowry and Foligno, who returned after missing two games with an upper-body injury, had another slugfest with 8:54 left in the period. Foligno got an added penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct when he kneed Lowry in the head.
“Maybe I got my leg in there or something, but that was just me kind of ticked-off and trying to get at him,” Foligno said. “There was no intent to, you know, not throw with your fist or use another body part in there.”
Kahkonen made three saves during Winnipeg’s fourth power play of the game. He left the net with two minutes left for an extra attacker.
Schmidt scored his third goal of the season into the empty net from center ice with 1:11 remaining.
NOTES: Jets top defenseman Neal Pionk and forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois and Austin Poganski missed the game due to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. … It was the first game in a stretch that has the Jets playing 11 games in 20 days.
Wild: Host Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
Jets: At Dallas Stars on Friday.
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