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Jets shut out Oilers, Maurice earns 700th career coaching win

Laine, Connor score in shootout; Hellebuyck earns 15th career shutout

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - There was a bit of a change in the win song in the Winnipeg Jets dressing room following a 1-0 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.

On this night, it was a special one to mark a special milestone: head coach Paul Maurice's 700th win.

"It would have been nice if they got the song right. It was Hell's Bells. That's a tell. They think that's my personality," Maurice said with a grin. "Clearly we need a Led Zeppelin song."

While the song choice was a bit off, the team sure wasn't.

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

Scoring chances offensively were hard to come by for much of the game, as the Jets and Oilers (7-1-1) battled through every shift to create scoring opportunities in a tight-checking affair.

Overtime - naturally - was the most wide open, but Connor Hellebuyck stood tall, finishing the night with 28 saves for his 15th career shutout.

He was proud to be between the pipes to help Maurice become the seventh coach in NHL history to reach 700 victories. 

"It's an honour. He's a great coach," said Hellebuyck. "This team, you can see it, we're driven well and we work hard. He's the driving force behind all that."

The 24 shots the Jets allowed through regulation time were the fewest they had allowed all season. They were equally as stingy on the penalty kill, keeping the league's best power play off the board on two opportunities - allowing only two shots on goal in the process.

"We have to build confidence in our group. When you're playing a really big bulk of the game the right way and you're not scoring like you're used to scoring and breaks are going against us, it's tough to want to stay with that game," said Wheeler. "It's tough to stay with that fight when you're not seeing the results and the fruits of your labour. 

"Tonight was a 65-minute plus two shot grind. This might be the way it looks."

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

Winnipeg came close to breaking the scoreless tie near the midway mark of the third period, when Patrik Laine found a trailing Carl Dahlstrom, who ripped a shot past Oilers goaltender Mike Smith from the right circle.

Unfortunately for the Jets (5-5-0), the goal was called back after a quick offside review.

But the Jets stuck with it.

"You just stay with it and keep grinding," Wheeler said. "It's a real battle every shift for us right now. When you're not getting results, it feels like an uphill climb. Our group stayed in the fight for the most part and gave us a chance to win a hockey game tonight."

Laine and Kyle Connor scored the two Jets goals in the shootout with Hellebuyck keeping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid from getting anything past him.

Video: POSTGAME | Connor Hellebuyck

Bryan Little also returned to action after missing the first nine games of the season with a concussion he sustained in the preseason finale on Sept. 29.

"I feel like I had a lot of energy and legs and some adrenaline," said Little, who played 16:17 and had two shots on goal. "I felt pretty good for the most part of the game. I could have used some hands tonight, but I think that will come."

Little has been with the organization since 2007, spending all 837 games of his career with the franchise.

He's one of a handful of players in the dressing room that have been there since Maurice was hired on Jan. 12, 2014.

"That's really impressive. Especially given his age, he's still really young. He must be doing something right. He's done a great job for us so far," said Little.

"It's not the same message every year. There are new guys in here and new personnel and it's going to be a different look. On the fly he's really good at changing things up and suiting it to what we need and what the players need. He's been really good for us."

Video: POSTGAME | Bryan Little

Maurice felt the appreciation from all the players during that short moment inside the dressing room after the game.

"The people that have been in the league a while have a better appreciation for what that number is. The young guys, it just means I'm old," grinned Maurice.

"A few of the older guys, the guys that are coming up on 1,000 games or Blake hits 700 points, you have to spend a certain amount of time to get those kind of numbers. They appreciate the longevity a little bit."

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