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

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

A Cougar was caught on camera at a Coldstream Estates residence early Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (Brad Thomas photo)
VIDEO: Cougar caught on camera in Coldstream

A Coldstream Estates resident captured early-morning footage Wednesday

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

A Shoppers Drug Mart employee in Vernon has tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed on Jan. 27, 2021. The last day the employee worked was Jan. 23. (K-J Millar - The Northern View)
COVID-19 case at Vernon Shoppers Drug Mart

Loblaws notes positive result on disclosure page

Okanagan Symphony Orchestra music director Rosemary Thomson in action at the podium. Photo by Lynda Miller.
Kelowna filmmaker gets funding to create new ‘Local Heroes’ documentary

The documentary will be focused on the director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Opera

Tom Ouchi is Respect Works Here’s Community Champion for January 2021. (Contributed)
Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Lesley Lutes, UBCO professor of psychology and director of the Centre for Obesity and Well-being Research Excellence. (Submitted)
UBCO psychologist part of Bell Let’s Talk virtual panel tonight at 6 p.m.

Panel will talk about coping under the stress of this pandemic

Vaseux Lake in winter. (Facebook)
Dogs rescued after falling through Okanagan Lake

Good Samaritans saved the trapped dogs

Vaseux Lake in winter. (Facebook)
Dogs rescued after falling through ice on Vaseux Lake

Good Samaritans saved the trapped dogs

Superstore
Three employees test positive for COVID-19 at Okanagan Superstore

Penticton 7 Eleven has reopened after closing for a week for COVID

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

A rendering of the proposed “Aqua” resort in Kelowna’s Lower Mission area. (Contributed)
Towering waterfront resort planned in Kelowna

Mission Group’s ‘Aqua’ resort has been in the works for more than a decade

“My grandma always just said…making people smile is the most important thing,” says Nicholas Kruger. (Chehala Leonard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Entrepreneur Nicholas Kruger nominated as Okanagan community changemaker

With humour and knowledge, Nicholas Kruger says it’s important to give back

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Most Read