WINNIPEG, MB - The Winnipeg Jets may have wore their ugliest suits to the rink on Friday night, but their game was anything but ugly as they blanked the suddenly spiralling St. Louis Blues 4-0.
Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each contributed a goal and assist on the night while Connor Hellebuyck knocked aside all 34 shots he faced to pick up his sixth shutout of the season and 12th of his career. It’s the second time this season and third time in six career contests against the Blues that Hellebuyck has recorded a shutout.
Nic Petan and Patrik Laine were the other goal scorers for the Jets (36-16-9) who continue to hold down second place in the Central Division with 81 points, two points behind the Nashville Predators.
St. Louis (34-24-4) lost their fifth consecutive game and are clinging to the second wildcard spot with 72 points, with Los Angeles (71), Calgary (71), and Colorado (69) all continuing to gain ground.
The Jets were playing their first game on the road in almost a month after completing a franchise-record 10-game homestand, and the Blues took it to them early but couldn’t beat Hellebuyck who made several key saves in the first 10 minutes - St. Louis fired the first seven shots of the game – but Hellebuyck shut the door, allowing Winnipeg a chance to get their legs under them.
And that they did.
Midway through the opening frame the Jets would tally twice in a 44 second span to open up a 2-0 lead. Nic Petan opened the scoring after Mark Scheifele picked off a Chris Butler pass and found a streaking Petan who notched his second goal of the season. Fourty-four seconds later Blake Wheeler snapped a shot from the right circle that beat Blues goaltender Jake Allen blocker-side to double the Jets lead.
Winnipeg would add to their lead with a power play goal before the period would run out when Kyle Connor knocked home a rebound to give the Jets a 3-0 lead after one. Connor now has four goals in his last three games.
In the second period Patrik Laine lit the lamp with his team-leading 29th goal of the season, snapping a shot once again over the blocker of Allen and in, rounding out the scoring for the Jets. It’s the fourth straight game Laine has found the back of the net, giving him seven points (4G, 3A) during that stretch.
Laine wasn’t the only one extending a scoring streak. With his two points tonight, Blake Wheeler extended his point-streak to seven games and now has 12 points (3G, 9A) during the streak
Winnipeg doesn’t have long to celebrate this win as they head to Dallas to face the Stars on Saturday night in yet another key Divisional game.
The Jets return home Tuesday night when they face the Nashville Predators.
Bill Burfoot, Manitoba Post