Winnipeg Jets Shutout Oilers in Edmonton


WINNIPEG, MB. – Connor Hellebuyck was the star, but the entire Jets team was pretty special on New Year’s Eve in Edmonton.

Hellebuyck kicked out 35 shots to record his third shutout of the season as the Jets whipped the Edmonton Oilers 5-0 at Rogers Place on Sunday night.

With the impressive shutout victory, the Jets won their third straight game and moved past Nashville into first place in the NHL’s Central Division. The Jets are now 23-11-6 and with 52 points in 40 games, hold a one-point lead over the Predators. The Jets are also second overall in the NHL, just two points back of the expansion juggernaut, the Vegas Golden Knights.

The New Year’s Eve win was remarkable for a couple of reasons. The night the Jets won their first game to kick-start this three-game winning streak, they lost star forward Mark Scheifele to injury. The next day, head coach Paul Maurice said Scheifele, who is 20th in NHL scoring with 15 goals and 38 points, would miss four-eight weeks depending on his rehab. Many observers thought this might be devastating for the Jets.

But since the Scheifele injury – they were already without Dustin Byfuglien and then Brandon Tanev was injured — the Jets have won two straight. They beat the Islanders 4-2 at home and then whipped the Oilers in Edmonton 5-0 on Sunday.

Five different Jets scored on Sunday. Marko Dano with his first of the year and captain Blake Wheeler with his 11th made it 2-0 after the first period. Kyle Connor scored his 13th and Bryan Little notched his seventh to make it 4-0 after two. Mathieu Perreault scored his 10th of the year in the third to complete the rout. Connor and Little each finished the game with a goal and an assist.

The Jets outshot the home side 38-35 and won 56 per cent of the faceoffs. Jacob Trouba led all Jets with 25 minutes and 21 seconds of ice time. He had three shots, two blocked shots and a takeaway. Nikolai Ehlers led the Jets with five shots while Josh Morrissey logged 21 minutes and eight seconds of ice time and was plus two.

The Jets will play again on Tuesday night in Colorado (8 p.m. on TSN 3). They’ll return home this Friday to face Buffalo at Bell MTS Place.

Scott Taylor, Manitoba Post

Photo – James Carey Lauder