Winnipeg dominates in 7-3 win, Vegas loses 5th straight
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Kyle Connor extended his goal-scoring streak to five games, and the Winnipeg Jets downed the Vegas Golden Knights 7-3 on Tuesday night.
Connor added a pair of assists to go with his 38th goal of the season. Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Logan Stanley and Josh Morrissey each had a goal and an assist, and Nikolaj Ehlers and Adam Lowry also scored for the Jets.
Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for Winnipeg, which is 6-2-1 in its last nine games.
The Jets entered the game four points behind Vegas for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, with the Golden Knights holding a game in hand on Winnipeg.
Nicolas Roy, Alex Pietrangelo and Michael Amadio scored for Vegas, which ended a five-game road trip without any points.
Former Jets goalie Laurent Brossoit started in net for Vegas in place of injured Robyn Lehner. Brossoit was replaced by Logan Thompson midway through the second period after letting in four goals on 13 shots. Thompson made seven saves.
Winnipeg led 2-0 after the first period and 5-1 following the second.
The Jets got off to a slow start and then switched gears with goals by Wheeler and Connor in the opening period.
Wheeler said players were rankled by "Bronx" cheers coming from the crowd, but added later that fans pay good money to watch the team and can express their feelings with boos or cheers.
"I think we've been a really good home team and fed off of our crowd over the years," Wheeler said. "When you hear a little jeer from the crowd when you get first shot, I mean, you know what it's for. And, like I said, it's their prerogative. You don't have to love it.
"But I think tonight they sparked us and got us going. We scored two goals right after that. Hopefully it doesn't happen often, but tonight it worked."
Winnipeg didn't get a shot on goal until 12:26 of the first. Defenseman Dylan DeMelo's shot was gloved by Brossoit and drew cheers from some in the crowd. Vegas had six shots on net at the time.
Winnipeg then peppered Brossoit with six straight shots in the next three minutes, while Hellebuyck had no work on the other end of the ice.
Wheeler took his team's eighth shot of the game and put the puck high over Brossoit's glove side for his ninth goal of the season at 18:08, which extended his point streak to five games with two goals and five assists.
Just 33 seconds later, Connor got his goal when his low shot went into the Vegas net at 18:41.
"It's amazing what happens when you have a shooter's mindset, and you have a skillset that Connor has," Jets interim coach Dave Lowry said. "He doesn't pass up opportunities to put the puck at the net. When I say that, he also has an innate ability to make plays."
Winnipeg had a 9-7 lead on shots when the period ended.
Vegas got on the board at 6:49 of the second period after Roy capitalized on a quick passing play.
A pair of unassisted goals upped Winnipeg's lead to 4-1. Ehlers scored his 16 at 9:04, and big defenseman Stanley recorded his first of the season at 11:09 when his sharp-angled shot whizzed behind Brossoit, who was then pulled in favor of Thompson.
The seven goals was the most the injury-riddled Golden Knights have given up this season.
"We've had winnable games," Vegas coach Pete DeBoer said. "It feels like we've got to play a perfect game right now. Our goalies have to be dead on, our special teams have to be dead on, our five-on-five has to be dead on for us to win. That's a big ask for a group. I thought most nights on this trip, we've had most of those things going but just not enough to win."
Golden Knights: Hosts Florida on Thursday.
Jets: Host Boston on Friday.
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Updated March 16, 2022