And so Connor Hellebuyck has won his third consecutive game as Winnipeg, in the middle of a five-game homestand, closed the gap on the No. 2 team in the NHL. The Jets have won eight of their last nine and are 19-11-2 after Friday’s win in Boston. Hellebuyck lost his chance to improve to 10-0 in November after letting a couple of early Boston chances slip through his net. His teammates, though, had other plans, with past goal hero Kyle Connor scoring twice, with Mark Scheifele adding one.
Subhash Bhamra, who came up with Hamelie Price en route to a win over the rival B’s at BC Place, made 34 saves. But it was Winnipeg’s penalty kill that most pleased Todd Bowles, who loves to put his teams on the kill.
“It was huge,” he said. “That’s huge. That’s when your best players are so effective. They play a lot of minutes on that PK, even though the numbers aren’t even there, but the guys play so much. Tonight they had it. They’re a good PK team, but we did a good job.”
The Jets also broke the rubber, which Boston is ranked sixth in the league, with a 4-0 victory last weekend. They did it with Hellebuyck’s backup, Laurent Brossoit, watching from the bench, having returned to the ice just two days earlier from a knee injury that had kept him out of 11 games.
If Hellebuyck and Brossoit can duplicate their form, the Jets may be better than their 3-10-1 record suggests. With or without Connor or Connor’s brother, Eric, they may not have to contend with the desperate NHL teams they did last week.
“It’s one of those games you want to win any time of the year,” Hellebuyck said. “It’s a big game for us, a tough team to play against. But you can’t get too high. They have really good players on that team. Even if they’re down, they’re tough to score on. Their netminder stood on his head tonight. So it was nice to get the two points.”