Michiganders Connor Hellebuyck and Kyle Connor were front and centre in Detroit Thursday night as the Winnipeg Jets downed the Red Wings 4-1 for their third straight win.
The Red Wings penalty kill was tested early as they took a pair of minor penalties in the opening four minutes but they managed to kill off both before they had their own unsuccessful power play ahead of the midway point of the first.
But with less than four minutes to go in the opening frame, Winnipeg broke the deadlock with a quick double-dip, netting two goals in 62 seconds.
The first came at the 3:28 mark when Cole Perfetti sent a perfect pass from the point to the slot where Nikolaj Ehlers turned and fired a perfect shot that beat James Reimer high.
Just over a minute later, Josh Morrissey intercepted a clearing attempt and sent the puck toward the net, where it bounced off a defender right to the stick of Kyle Connor. The native of Shelby Township, Michigan blasted the puck past an unsuspecting Reimer to double Winnipeg’s lead through 20 minutes.
Detroit cut into the lead just over three minutes into the middle frame thanks to Lucas Raymond. The Wings cycled the puck to the point where Dylan Larkin fired a shot towards Connor Hellebuyck. The Commerce, Michigan native made the initial save but Raymond swept the rebound home to make it 2-1.
It stayed 2-1 through the end of the period, with the best chance of changing that going to Connor. Mark Scheifele made a terrific behind-the-back pass from behind the Wings’ net to Connor parked in front but he couldn’t elevate the puck over Reimer to seal off what would have been a highlight-reel tally.
Winnipeg held a 21-17 edge in shots on goal through 40 minutes but Detroit turned that around right from the start of the third, firing nine shots at Hellebuyck in the opening four minutes but the score remained 2-1.
The Wings kept up the pressure, earning their second power play of the game when Morrissey was called for high-sticking at the 5:34 mark of the period.
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Detroit’s second-ranked power play, which had scored 12 goals through their first seven games, managed five shots in the two minutes but Hellebuyck continued to stand tall.
At that point in the third, eight minutes in, Detroit had outshot Winnipeg 15-4. But just past the midway point, the Jets doubled their lead.
Nino Niederreiter carried the puck into the Detroit zone before dishing it to a cutting Adam Lowry. He took the puck to the right of Reimer before sending it in front to a wide-open Mason Appleton, who steered the puck off Reimer’s skate and in for his third of the season.
With just under 2:30 to go, the Red Wings pulled Reimer to try and overcome the two-goal deficit. After Hellebuyck made a few more stops, Niederreiter scored into the empty net for his first of the season, sealing an impressive road win for the Jets.
Hellebuyck turned aside 35 shots in the win, including all 19 he faced in the third. He’s stopped 91 of 96 shots in Winnipeg’s three-game win streak after a rough start to the season.
The Jets are now 4-3 as they head to Montreal Saturday night. The puck drops a little after 6 p.m. with pregame coverage starting at 4 p.m. on 680 CJOB.
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