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game recap

Laine ends 15-game goal drought, Jets defeat Golden Knights

Scores twice for Winnipeg, which moves into first in Central Division

by Danny Webster / Correspondent

Laine nets second PPG

WPG@VGK: Wheeler, Laine connect for another PPG

Patrik Laine winds up and blasts Blake Wheeler's pass on a two-man advantage into the net for his second power-play goal of the game

  • 00:48 •

LAS VEGAS -- Patrik Laine ended a 15-game scoring drought with two goals, and the Winnipeg Jets moved into first place in the Central Division with a 6-3 win against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Friday.

Winnipeg (37-20-4), which had lost three in a row, moved one point ahead of the idle Nashville Predators for the division lead. Nikolaj Ehlers scored after missing 20 games because of an upper-body injury, Jacob Trouba had three assists and Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves in a rematch of last season's Western Conference Final, which the Jets lost in five games.

"I think there's always meaning when we're playing," Laine said. "We had to win these games. We lost a couple of huge games here last playoffs. We kind of needed to win this one, and after the game in Colorado (a 7-1 loss on Wednesday), we needed a good bounce back and I think we did that."


[WATCH: All Jets vs. Golden Knights highlights]


Vegas (32-26-5) lost its third straight game and for the 10th time in 13 games (3-9-1). Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault scored for the Golden Knights, who lead the Arizona Coyotes by eight points for third place in the Pacific Division. Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves but lost his fifth consecutive start.

"We are, maybe, a part of the game for a decent amount of time, but it doesn't really matter if that amount of time that we're not in it we let in five goals," Bellemare said. "It's as simple as that. It's tough to win when you let five goals against."

The Jets took an early 2-0 lead when Ehlers scored 56 seconds into the game, and Kyle Connor scored 32 seconds later at 1:28.

"I saw [Connor] coming down with the puck, just went to the net, and it bounced right in front of me," Ehlers said. "Not too bad."

Video: WPG@VGK: Jets strike twice to kick off the scoring

Bellemare made it 2-1 at 15:43 of the first period off a backhand pass from Tomas Nosek.
Theodore scored his 10th goal of the season at 8:09 of the second period to tie it 2-2.

But the Jets responded with two goals in 27 seconds late in the second period. Laine scored his first goal since Jan. 13 at 19:29 on the power play to give Winnipeg a 3-2 lead, and Adam Lowry scored at 19:56 to make it 4-2.

"It's been a while," Laine said. "I didn't know how to react. It was a great pass from (Blake Wheeler), and even I'm not going to miss that again."

Video: WPG@VGK: Laine buries Wheeler's feed on power play

Marchessault scored eight seconds into the third period to cut the Jets lead to 4-3, but Laine scored a power-play goal at 6:31 to make it 5-3.

Winnipeg was 2-for-4 on the power play, thanks to Laine's goals.

"It's just confidence for everything," Maurice said. "For the last two weeks, any time Patrik did something good on the ice, the bench is cheering him, pulling for him. It's confidence."

Andrew Copp scored an empty-net goal at 18:34 for the 6-3 final.


They said it

"Great team win. Everyone had a piece of that one. That was a great win to get back on track. Everyone did the right things that they needed to do." -- Jets captain Blake Wheeler

"I hope as a hockey player, you look in the mirror and say, 'I've got to do better.' We've got to find the [Golden] Misfits again. I don't see them lately. I don't like what I'm seeing and I don't like our game." -- Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant


Need to know

Maurice got his 685th NHL win and moved into eighth place on the League's all-time list. … It was Winnipeg's first victory at T-Mobile Arena, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs (1-3-0). … Jets center Bryan Little got his 300th NHL assist. … Vegas has allowed at least three goals in nine of its past 13 games.


What's next

Jets: At the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Golden Knights: Host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; SN, ATTSN-RM, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

Video: Laine, Trouba power Jets to 6-3 victory

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