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Ehlers, Little combine for six points in Jets win over Ducks

Hellebuyck stops 30 of 31 as Jets win second game of road trip

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

ANAHEIM, California - It's not too often a team can open the scoring twice in one game.

But the Winnipeg Jets (14-5-3) did just that in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks (10-9-3) on Friday.

Video: POSTGAME | JetsTV Road Report

Mark Scheifele looked to have scored just 34 seconds in, but an offside challenge from Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle showed Blake Wheeler was a couple inches offside on the play.

It proved not to be a problem, as Nikolaj Ehlers scored his first of two on the night just seconds later, giving the Jets a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"The first line coming out the way they did set us all up for a great start. We wanted to keep pushing and do the same things they did," said Ehlers. "I think our line especially hasn't been producing and playing the way we've wanted to. Last game against LA was a step in the right direction, and another step today. It's great for our line, and great for the team."

Video: POSTGAME | Bryan Little

The line of Ehlers, Bryan Little, and Patrik Laine combined for seven points in the win, with Ehlers and Little getting three each.

"I thought in the first seven or eight minutes in that game we were good. Bryan's line was like that all night I thought," said head coach Paul Maurice. "They didn't just score. Nikolaj Ehlers skated so very well that it opened up the ice for the other two. They were our best line."

After the disallowed goal, Ehlers - who hadn't scored in his last eight games - snapped that streak in a hurry.

Little set up Patrik Laine in the slot, and when his shot was stopped by John Gibson, Ehlers was right there to bury the rebound for his ninth goal of the season.

It's a response Maurice has seen from his team on more than one occasion this season.

"There's not the sense that we can't score goals," said Maurice. "It's the right call, it was off side. We've had three or four goals that didn't get called back, or were allowed. We've handled it right."

Video: POSTGAME | Connor Hellebuyck

Ehlers' tenth of the season would come shortly after. With Dennis Rasmussen off for high sticking Brandon Tanev, Ehlers took a pass from Tyler Myers at the left wing face-off dot. His wrist shot caught Gibson leaning a bit off his post, and found twine on the short side.

Francois Beauchemin would cut the Jets lead to 2-1 5:46 into the second. His first of the season came off a point shot that got through three bodies in front of Connor Hellebuyck, beating the Jets goaltender high on the glove side.

But that was the only shot that beat Hellebuyck, as he stopped the other 30 pucks that came his way.

It was a solid redemption night for Hellebuyck, who allowed five goals in Nashville on Monday.

"I think we got on them early and we never let off. We played our game until the final buzzer," said Hellebuyck. "You can tell that everyone is supporting each other and no one is taking a shift off. It's huge, and it builds confidence in the team."

The Jets would restore the two-goal lead, and again, Ehlers would get on the score sheet. The speedy forward gained the zone on the power play, turned back and slid a feed to Myers, who found Little at the top of the circle on the right wing. Little used Mathieu Perreault as a screen, and ripped a wrist shot over Gibson's glove.

Video: POSTGAME | Nikolaj Ehlers

"We realized that we needed to be playing better, especially five on five. I thought we have been the last couple games and getting more chances and more time in their end. That's what you need," said Little.

"They definitely had some fight in them tonight. They kept pushing. But we did a great job of playing with that lead and closing it out."

Kyle Connor's sixth of the season into the empty net helped close the game out, but so did the penalty kill, as it killed off both Ducks chances, including one opportunity midway through the third period.

Even after that, Ehlers pointed out a number of players doing what they had to do defensively.

"You saw again today, you saw (Blake Wheeler) block a shot with five minutes left, and trying to jump into a second one with his head first," said Ehlers. "These guys are fighting and giving everything to get the win, and we did that today. It gives the guys on the team energy."

Next up for the Jets is the back half of the back-to-back set in San Jose to close out the three-game road trip. Maurice said Steve Mason will get the start against the Sharks, with puck drop set for 9 pm CT.

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