Hellebuyck leads Jets, tie American record for goalie wins
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves to tie the record for victories in a season by an American goalie and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.
Hellebuyck has 43 victories to match the mark set by former Pittsburgh star Tom Barrasso in 1992-93. The Michigan native expected to be in goal Saturday at home against Chicago in the regular-season finale.
”Yes, because we’re tied, right, with Tom Barrasso? We need one more (win),” Hellebuyck said.
”What an accomplishment for him,” Wheeler said about Hellebuyck. ”Things like that don’t happen every year so you need to enjoy them when they do happen. Really happy for him. I’m sure he’s proud of himself. Hopefully, he’ll win one more if he plays (on Saturday) and that’d be a pretty cool thing to have for him.”
Rookie Spencer Foo scored his first NHL goal in his third game for the Flames.
”Just went to the net hard there and had it go off my foot,” Foo said. ”Feels good. I’ll take it.”
Winnipeg will play the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the NHL playoffs after Nashville beat Washington 4-3 earlier Thursday to clinch top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference with 115 points.
”We got to get through one more and then we’ll start to zero in on Minnesota,” Wheeler said.
Jon Gillies stopped 24 shots for Calgary. The Flames are 1-9-0 in their past 10 games.
”I thought Jon Gilles played a good game tonight,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. ”He looked a little nervous early, but really settled into the game and made some big saves off some big players.”
Wheeler scored with 47 seconds left in the first, tipping Dustin Byfuglien’s shot from the point
Wheeler, who has five goals and 14 points in his past 11 games, became the fourth player in franchise history to hit the 90-point mark, and first since Ilya Kovalchuk in 2008-09. His previous career high was 78 points two years ago.
Jets rookie Kyle Connor assisted on Wheeler’s goal, giving him 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in his past 12 games.
Ben Chiarot made a patient play to set up Stastny’s goal, waiting for the veteran to cut toward the net and then sending a pass to his stick for the redirection and 2-0 lead at 12:59.
Flames: Host Vegas on Saturday night in the finale.
Jets: Host Chicago on Saturday night to wrap up the regular season.