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

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More calls come in for Cullen’s removal as NDP candidate

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs demand Cullen’s removal. Ellis says, There’s no place in B.C. for racism

BC Liberal Party candidate for the North Coast Roy Jones Jr. will hold virtual face-to-face meetings for North Coast communities on Oct. 18. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
BC Liberal Candidate Roy Jones Jr, will meet constituents virtually

Face to face conversations will be held on Oct. 18 for North Coast communities

Kelly Lynn Whitney has been acclaimed as the successful candidate on Oct. 16, in the Village of Port Clements by Election. Seen in photos Kelly Whitney-Gould is pictured putting finishing touches on “Ms. Gnomer’s Home 4 Wayward Folk.” (Kelly Whitney-Gould/Submitted photo)
Kelly Lynn Whitney acclaimed in By Election

Village of Port Clements By Election success

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
‘Buy a boat,’ Horgan advises anti-maskers on BC Ferries

NDP leader John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read