Winnipeg Jets’ Neal Pionk (4) battles hard against Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson (40) in front of Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck during second period NHL exhibition game action in Edmonton, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

Hellebuyck backstops Jets to 4-1 win over Canucks in NHL exhibition play

Vancouver will meet Minnesota Wild in play-in series

EDMONTON — The Winnipeg Jets, backed by the razor-sharp goaltending of Connor Hellebuyck, overcame a sloppy first period to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 in exhibition play Wednesday.

Hellebuyck batted away numerous one-timers from below the face-off dot and stoned Canucks sniper Brock Boeser on a breakaway to bail out his teammates before the Jets found their feet and wore down Vancouver and its goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

Tucker Poolman, Nikolaj Ehlers, Dmitry Kulikov and Blake Wheeler supplied the Jets offence. Antoine Roussel scored for the Canucks.

Hellebuyck, a Vezina Trophy finalist, stopped 37-of-38 shots while Markstrom turned aside 30-of-33, with Wheeler’s goal into an empty net.

The Jets were outshot 12-7 in the first period, but opened the scoring with just over one minute left in the frame when defenceman Poolman fired a wrist shot just inside the blue line through heavy traffic past a screened Markstrom.

Markstrom didn’t get the help he needed as the Jets began to dominate the cycle in Vancouver’s end in the second period to add two more goals.

With just over five minutes left in the frame, Jet winger Patrik Laine blasted a shot in full stride on a 2-on-1 that Markstrom blocked, but allowed a juicy rebound that Ehlers buried into an open net.

Less than two minutes later, with the Canucks unable to clear the puck from their own zone, Kulikov jumped up in the slot, took a drop pass from Jack Roslovic and buried a shot through bodies stickside on Markstrom.

READ MORE: NHL players take assortment of creature comforts with them to hub cities

The Canucks finally got to Hellebuyck with just under seven minutes to go in the game, when Roussel poked one under his pads in a goal-mouth scramble.

Wheeler dumped the puck into an empty net with 1:39 remaining as the Canucks pulled Markstrom for a 6-on-5 advantage.

Hellebuyck led all goalies with six shutouts in the regular season — while facing a shooting gallery at times in front of defence that had to be retooled due to a number of departures, including Jacob Trouba, Dustin Byfuglien, and Tyler Myers (who went to Vancouver) — before COVID-19 halted play.

Hellebuyck had a 31-21-5 record with a .922 save percentage while Markstrom was 23-16-4 with a .918 save percentage.

It was the second night of exhibition play at Rogers Place, the hub city for 12 Western Conference teams vying to win the Stanley Cup while staying isolated from the public to prevent contracting COVID-19.

Toronto is hosting the 12 contenders from the Eastern Conference.

The Jets, seeded 9th in the Western Conference with a 37-28-6 record, open their best-of-five elimination series against the Calgary Flames Saturday.

Calgary, seeded eighth, lost its exhibition matchup 4-1 to Edmonton Tuesday.

Vancouver, seeded seventh with a 36-27-6 record, plays the 10th-ranked Minnesota Wild beginning Sunday.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanucksNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2 a.m. Sunday when it’s time to turn the clocks back one hour.
Time for a change

Put your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night

Cowichan’s Nicole Pugh collects the ball deep in the Gorge end during her team’s season opener at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan United runs with the big guns

Women’s soccer team holds its own against defending Div. 1 champs

Tim Gosley will be passing on some of his puppetry wisdom with a talk and workshop in Duncan in November. (Submitted)
CVAC ready to play next month in Duncan

Puppetry, Lego, basketry and more

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Matt Arnett of the Cowichan 49ers gets his head on the ball during his team’s recent meeting with the Cowichan Steelheads. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen0
Cowichan 49ers make improvements against UVic

Steelheads still looking for first goal of season

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read