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Hellebuyck details getting hit with one-timer in Tampa Bay

"It felt like I got clobbered in the face." - Hellebuyck

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

RALEIGH, North Carolina - A couple days have passed, but Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck still has a noticeable mark above his left eye.

But that's just the way he wants it.

"They wanted to stitch, but I just told them to glue it. It gives me a better scar," Hellebuyck said with a grin. "I like scars I guess. Glue is faster and I don't have to deal with needles."

The mark is the result of a play in Tuesday night's loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning that saw a Nikita Kucherov one-timer hit Hellebuyck square in the mask, knocking the 6'4", 207-pound goaltender on his back.

"The second that pass came down I knew what was going to happen - he was going to rip one and I had to get in the way," he said.

"I almost watched it in slow motion coming right at my face. When the puck - usually when it hits me in the cage it makes like a chain-link fence kind of sound. This one hit me perfectly in the eye. It felt like I got clobbered in the face.

"When I got up, I noticed I had a little bit of blood. When I opened my eyes, I saw the trainer coming, so I knew something was wrong."

Video: PRACTICE | Connor Hellebuyck

As the 25-year-old Hellebuyck left the ice at Amalie Arena with a towel over his face, Laurent Brossoit had to spring into action.

It wasn't the easiest of circumstances. The Jets trailed 2-1 at that point, and Tampa Bay's league-leading power play was on the ice.

"There's really not much you can do other than go out there, take as much of a warm-up as the refs allow you. It doesn't allow you much time to think, so in that regard it's not bad," said Brossoit, who didn't spend much time thinking about the rocket of a one-timer that beat him 15 seconds after he came in. 

"Regardless of a warm-up, I think that Steven Stamkos one-timer goes in on most goalies, warm or not. It is what it is."

The Lightning scored once during Brossoit's 3:16 in the game (Hellebuyck returned to action after that). The final score finished 5-2, which meant Brossoit was charged with not only a goal against, but the loss on his record as well.

"If you think of the worst opportunity to get put in, I think that's it right there. Top power play in the league, I feel for the guy. He's done a great job this year," Hellebuyck said of Brossoit.

"In that specific case I think I definitely should have took the stat. I guess it's the way it is for a reason."

After Wednesday's day away from the rink, Hellebuyck, Brossoit, and the rest of the Jets were on the ice at PNC Arena for a 45-minute practice.

Video: PRACTICE | Laurent Brossoit

Bryan Little and Adam Lowry were the only two Jets not on the ice for the session. Jets head coach Paul Maurice is hopeful both will be in the line-up against the Metropolitan Division's third-ranked Hurricanes.

"We're expecting both of them to be available, but we won't know more until tomorrow," said Maurice, who said Lowry missed practice due to illness, one that doesn't seem to want to leave the Jets room.

"It started early November and it's pretty much maintained its hold," said Maurice. "We've had a bunch of guys with it and playing with it. We're careful with it, but we've got enough guys to play."

He wasn't feeling good today… We're careful with it, but we've got enough guys to play.

The Hurricanes are 5-0-1 in their last six games with the lone blemish on that record coming in their last outing, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

Carolina leads the NHL in shots-per-game with 34.8.

"There is an awful lot of speed and they're very quick. They shoot absolutely everything to your net. The quickness on those pucks to the net is important for you, then how you move it," said Maurice.

"Where I didn't think we excelled against Tampa was in some of our play selection with the puck. At times it slowed us down. We can't do that against this team."

Maurice wouldn't reveal his goaltending plans for tomorrow's game.

Earlier in the season, the Jets beat the Hurricanes at Bell MTS Place by a score of 3-1, with Brossoit making 42 saves in his regular season debut in a Jets jersey.

With 16 games to go in the regular season, Hellebuyck has 50 starts to Brossoit's 16.

Last year's finalist for the Vezina Trophy said he hasn't thought too far ahead about what he'd like his workload to look like over the next five-week stretch.

"I'm going to continue playing. I prepare the same way and I feel the same way going into most games. I don't think there is a number I need to hit," said Hellebuyck. "I don't think there is a specific way we need to take this next couple of days. Maybe in April I'll take an extra day off. I don't need much, maybe just an extra day or two."

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