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game recap

Jets move into first wild card with shutout of Golden Knights

Hellebuyck makes 29 saves for Winnipeg; Vegas fails to pad Pacific lead

by Darrin Bauming / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Hellebuyck's 29-save shutout

VGK@WPG: Hellebuyck stymies Vegas to earn the shutout

Connor Hellebuyck stopped all 29 shots he faced to lead the Jets to a 4-0 win with his sixth shutout of the season

  • 01:26 •

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets moved into the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 4-0 win against the Vegas Golden Knights at Bell MTS Place on Friday.

Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for his NHL-leading sixth shutout of the season, and Kyle Connor extended his goal-scoring streak to five games for the Jets (35-28-6).

"It's a testament to the guys in front of me and how well we've been playing," Hellebuyck said. "When we bring it we know we can shut teams down. I thought tonight was a good game."

 

[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Jets highlights]

 

Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves for the Golden Knights (37-24-8), who lost for the second time in three games following an eight-game winning streak. Vegas leads the Pacific Division by two points over the Edmonton Oilers.

"You've got one team that started like they're fighting for their playoff life, and we didn't," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. "The game was over in the first period. ... The first period was unacceptable. That's what happens when you're playing desperate teams with great goaltending. When you get in a hole like that, it's hard to come back."

Video: VGK@WPG: Laine hammers loose puck by Fleury for PPG

Winnipeg is tied with the Vancouver Canucks, one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild and two points ahead of the Nashville Predators and Arizona Coyotes, for the two Western wild cards.

"We've just got to keep climbing," Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. "... We needed a win. They played a good game. They're fast, they have good sticks. They didn't give us a whole lot. I think our goalie was outstanding tonight, made the stops when we needed him to. He gave us a chance to win."

Nikolaj Ehlers scored 32 seconds into the first period to make it 1-0. Patrik Laine made it 2-0 on the power play at 4:41. Connor extended the lead to 3-0 at 18:10.

Mathieu Perreault's power-play goal made it 4-0 at 14:00 of the second period.

"We had some chances to get back in the game late in the first period or early in the second period," Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt said. "But the underlying factor is that we weren't really good with the puck tonight and it caused us to play slow and caused us to turn the pucks over and into their transition. And they're a great rush team. They have a lot of guys that can move the puck off the rush and make plays, and if you feed into that it's going to be much more beneficial for them than for us."

Video: VGK@WPG: Roslovic sets up Connor's 36th goal of year

 

They said it

"It's hard to create desperation. That's a desperate team over there. You look at the standings, they need every single point. I don't know if we feel [desperate], maybe we don't, which would be a mistake on our part." -- Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer

"When our crowd gets into it like that it's so easy to get some momentum and really carry and push our pace on them. I'm just having a lot of fun and taking every moment in like it might not happen again. So I'm enjoying it." -- Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck

Video: Hellebuyck earns Friday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

 

Need to know

Perreault's power-play goal ended his 22-game drought, dating to Nov. 23 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The forward played 8:05 after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury. ... The Golden Knights play nine of their final 13 regular-season games on the road, where they are 15-13-4. ... The Jets are 8-2-1 in their past 11 home games. ... The Golden Knights are 13-5-2 since DeBoer replaced Gerard Gallant on Jan. 15.

 

What's next

Golden Knights: At the Calgary Flames on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Jets: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)

Video: Hellebuyck, Jets shut out Golden Knights, 4-0

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