Brock Boeser had a pair of goals Saturday as the Vancouver Canucks topped the host Winnipeg Jets 4-1.
Rookie Nils Hoglander also scored for the Canucks (6-5-0) and Zack MacEwen found the back of the net in the second period. Mason Appleton scored Winnipeg’s (5-3-0) lone tally early in the first frame and Adam Lowry registered the assist.
Thatcher Demko made 23 saves to extend Vancouver’s win streak to four games. Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck stopped 35-of-38 shots. Before Saturday’s result, Winnipeg had won 10 consecutive matchups between the two sides dating back to December 2016.
Winnipeg made a bid for a late push, pulling Hellebuyck with about two-and-a-half minutes to go.
Vancouver was quick to capitalize, with Boeser scoring on the empty net 17:59 into the third.
The visitors controlled play through much of the period, outshooting the home side 16-to-6 across the frame.
Some nifty stick work by J.T. Miller paved the way for Vancouver’s third strike of the night midway through the second. The veteran forward dodged and weaved to hang on to the puck near the blue line, and slid a pass to Jordie Benn. The defenceman ripped a long shot and MacEwen deflected it in for his first goal of the season.
Hoglander put Vancouver up 2-1 before the end of the first tapping in a puck that had bounced off the top of Winnipeg’s net. The goal — his third of the season — capped off a gritty shift for the Swedish rookie, who’d also executed a spin move along the boards to evade his defender and keep the play in Winnipeg’s end.
The Jets had tied things up earlier in the frame. Lowry won a face off in the Vancouver zone and Appleton launched a one-timer, rocketing the puck under Demko’s glove to make it 1-1.
Boeser opened the scoring just 29 seconds into the game. Defenceman Alex Edler fed him a pass from near the goal line and the right-winger put a backhand shot in behind Hellebuyck after the goalie came up to the top of his crease to stop the shot. Boeser now has seven goals this season, tied with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for most in the league.
The Canucks had ample opportunity to pad the tally Saturday, but Hellebuyck stymied their efforts.
When Pettersson fired a wrist shot from the slot midway through the second period, the Winnipeg goalie snatched the puck out of the air. He repeated the feat just over a minute later to rob Vancouver’s Tyler Motte of a goal. At the other end of the ice, Demko remained strong to capture his third win of the season.
One of his best saves of the night came on a Vancouver power play in the second period after Elias Pettersson shattered his stick on a shot, creating a short-handed breakaway for Adam Lowry. Demko stretched out across the net to make a pad stop on the ensuing shot. Winnipeg has not scored a short-handed goal this season.
The Jets will host the Flames on Monday. The Canucks will be in Montreal the same night to face the Canadiens.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) January 31, 2021
NOTES: Winnipeg’s three top scorers all saw their five-game point streaks snapped. Nikolaj Ehlers had 10 points (five goals, five assists) across the stretch, while Mark Scheifele (two goals, seven assists) and Andrew Copp (four goals, five assists) each registered nine. … Jets bench boss Paul Maurice coached his 1,608th game, surpassing Al Arbour for the fourth most in NHL history. Maurice also turned 54 on Saturday.
The Canadian Press