Jets look to keep Canucks grounded

Sports

After grinding out a 2-0 victory in Friday night’s opener, the visiting Winnipeg Jets will try and complete a sweep of their back-to-back with the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.

The Jets have dominated the series with the Canucks in recent years, winning 11 of the last 12 meetings including six in a row at Rogers Arena. Vancouver is just 2-15-0 in its last 17 games against Winnipeg, averaging just 1.47 goals per game while getting shut out five times. The Jets have averaged 3.24 goals over that same span.

The latest blanking came at the hands of Jets backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit who stopped 29 shots on Friday night for just his second career shutout, both of which have come at Rogers Arena. The other came on Dec. 22, 2018, 1-0.

Brossoit’s shutout was even more impressive considering he hadn’t started a game since Feb. 2 while backing up 2020 Vezina Trophy winner Connor Hellebuyck.

“He’s underrated,” said Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice. “Connor Hellebuyck gets all the accolades, as he should — he’s a Vezina winner. But our goaltending tandem is exceptionally strong.”

Brossoit made a pair of big saves on Elias Pettersson in the contest and also came up big on a Nate Schmidt breakaway that nearly trickled over the goal line before Brossoit reached back and stopped the puck.

“I overreacted a bit with my blocker,” Brossoit said. “It hit my armpit, and I felt it drop and just made sure I covered it up.”

Mark Scheifele scored a goal for the fourth straight game on a breakaway at the 7:25 mark of the first period to extend his points streak to nine games, one off his career high of 10 in a row accomplished from March 22-April 9 in 2016. Mason Appleton added an empty-net goal to seal it.

Scheifele, who has scored his team’s first goal of the game in three consecutive contests, picked up a puck that bounced over the stick of defenseman Alexander Edler’s stick at the Jets’ blue line and then raced down the ice where he used a quick head fake and a deke on Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko before beating him with a backhand shot on his stick side.

“I saw (Demko) was far out of the net, but he’s a pretty stellar goaltender, a big body, so just kind of made my move and he bit a little bit,” Scheifele said. “I was happy to put it in. I don’t get many breakaways so it’s fun when you put them in.”

The home loss left the Canucks, who had a 2-0-1 points streak snapped, frustrated. Besides the big game by Brossoit, the Jets also blocked 18 shots.

“We created lots, but I’m tired of saying we played a good game but didn’t score, and it was another one of those nights,” said Pettersson.

“It was a tight game that could have gone either way,” said Vancouver coach Travis Green. “And when you’re on the wrong side of it, it’s frustrating.”

Winnipeg now will try and snap a win-one, lose-one pattern it has developed over its past two series with Ottawa and Edmonton.

“If you win the first game, they are sitting there waiting to rebound,” forward Blake Wheeler said. “In a normal schedule, it’s a little easier to get on a run not playing a team you just beat. It just makes for a different atmosphere.”

–Field Level Media

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