Connor Hellebuyck makes 35 saves, Jets beat Oilers 5-0
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Connor Hellebuyck deflected credit as easily as he turned aside the Edmonton Oilers.
Hellebuyck made 35 saves for his third shutout of the season and Kyle Connor and Bryan Little each had a goal and an assist in the Winnipeg Jets’ 5-0 victory over the Oilers on Sunday.
”Our defensemen have been so good all year,” Hellebuyck said. ”They keep it to the outside and they let me see shots, they’re not getting too many deflections against me. Those things are small details, but they’re huge and I think that makes the biggest difference.”
Marko Dano, Blake Wheeler and Mathieu Perreault also scored. The Jets have won three in a row and are 5-1-1 in their last seven games.
”There were very few times where we were caught on the wrong side of the puck,” Wheeler said. ”We were trying not to let their top guys get top speed going, trying not to let them play with a lot of time and space.”
Cam Talbot made 33 saves for Edmonton. The Oilers have dropped three straight.
”We were outworked, simple as that,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. ”When you’re out-worked, out-hustled, out-skated, out-grinded and out-committed, the rest isn’t going to be in place. That’s the biggest disappointment for me.
”It’s concerning. Especially playing at home at this time of the year when we had something good going. Pre-Christmas we were on a roll and felt good about ourselves. But that doesn’t happen automatically, you have to show up and at least attempt to out-work the other team. We had none of that today.”
Winnipeg scored on its first shot of the game – at 2:34 of the first period. Matt Hendricks set up Dano at the side of the net for a tap-in. Dano had been a healthy scratch for the previous 30 games.
”You feel for the guy, he’s worked so hard, he has such positive attitude and he’s a great team player and I was very happy he was able to get one tonight,” Hellebuyck said.
Winnipeg made it 2-0 with seven minutes remaining in the opening period when Connor stripped the puck deep in Oilers’ territory and sent it out front to Wheeler for his 11th goal of the season.
The Jets padded their lead 11 minutes into the middle period when Connor tipped in Patrik Laine’s power-play shot.
Winnipeg added another with 2.5 seconds left in the second when a giveaway led to a goal by Little.
Perreault made it 5-0 in the third on a power play.
NOTES: The Jets swept the three-game season series. … The Oilers are 0-11-4 on New Year’s Eve since 1985.
Jets: At Colorado on Tuesday night.
Oilers: Host Los Angeles on Tuesday night.