Jets edge Flames 2-1 as Hellebuyck ties NHL record Featured

Written by  Published in Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg, Manitoba (NHN)-Paul Stastny scored the game winner just under the thirteen minute mark of the third period as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 Thursday night.

Stastny expertly deflected a puck past Flames goaltender Jon Gillies after Ben Chiarot spotted the Jets centreman cutting for the net and hit him with a slap pass which Stastny made short work of, adeptly tipping past the Calgary goaltender to give Winnipeg the win.

Blake Wheeler scored Winnipeg's other goal on the night.

Connor Hellebuyck picked up the win for the Jets, turning aside 31 shots and tied Tom Barasso for most wins in an NHL season for an American born goaltender.

“It feels pretty good. All the hard work that we put in this room, it goes to the guys in front of me. My hat's off to them. They've been blocking shots all season long and really staying focused to our details and making my life a lot easier back there," said Hellebucyk.

“I know (the 43 wins is) rare, but I couldn't do it without these guys. I owe 'em. I owe 'em," he added.

Winnipeg moved to 51-20-10 on the season, but it didn't affect their playoff outlook as Nashville's 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals clinched first place in the Central Division and determined the Jets first round opponent-the Minnesota Wild.

“For me, it will be my fourth time playing them in the first round. It’s always tough. There’s no easy match-ups in the Western Conference, for sure. It’s been like that since the lockout," said Paul Stastny.

“I don’t know how we matched up this year, because since I’ve been here we haven’t played them. But we worry about what we do. We want to dictate play and throw everything at them instead of sitting back. That’s when we play at our best."

Spencer Foo scored Calgary's lone goal on the night.

Jon Gillies stopped 24 shots for the Flames, who dropped to 36-35-10.

Blake Wheeler scored the only goal of the first period at 19:13, redirecting a Dustin Byfuglien shot from the point past Calgary goaltender Jon Gillies to give the Jets a 1-0 lead.

Kyle Connor got control of the puck along the side boards before sliding the disc to Byfuglien who got off a waist high shot on net before Wheeler got his stick on it.

The goal was his 23rd of the year and also registered his 90th point of the season, a career high for the Jets captain.

Paul Stastny tipped a Ben Chiarot shot past Gillies at 12:59 of the 2nd period to make it 2-0 Winnipeg.

Chiarot spotted Stastny cutting for the net unabated before driving a low shot at the goal that Stastny simply tipped past the Flames goaltender, the puck landing just inside the right post.

The goal was his 16th of the season.

“I feel like all of the D here have good patience. They don’t waste a lot of shots. If they do (shoot), they’re looking for a screen or a man coming. Once (Chiarot) he pump-faked it and realized there was no one in front of him, he didn’t want to waste it. He saw me coming, kind of made eye contact and just kind of waited. A lot of credit to him (Chiarot). If you have D-men like that, who are either always activating or keeping their head up when they are shooting, it just makes it tough in front," said

"Stastny's was an unbelievable stick goal," said Gillies afterward. "Not only the way he angled his stick but then where he was able to place it that shows why he does what he does."

"So that's my first time experiencing that," he added.

Spencer Foo got Calgary's only goal at 15:14 when Michael Stone's shot hit his skate while he was in the crease and crossed the goal line.

The tally was the first of his NHL career.

"It feels great obviously. I just went to the net hard there and it (puck) just went in off of my foot," said Foo.

"I'll take it," he added.

Andrew Copp appeared to have given the Jets an insurance goal with 1:08 remaining in regulation when he lifted the disc past Gillies from close in but referee Kelly Sutherland ruled no goal as the play had been blown dead prior to the puck entering the net.

Flames Head Coach Glen Gulutzan said his goaltender was particularly strong.

"I don't see anything that he could have done differently, both deflections. Second one goes right upstairs and the first one gets tipped. I thought he made some really good saves when he needed to."

SHOTS-CALGARY 32 WINNIPEG 26

ATTENDANCE-15,294

Last modified on Friday, 06 April 2018 03:38
Philip Paul-Martin

A well rounded journalist with experience in both print and broadcast mediums, Philip has written news stories with impact, broken national news while at the CBC, anchored radio news and hosted talk show radio. His coverage includes feature writing, game stories and more in-depth pieces during the off-season as well as writing about the National Hockey League and the Winnipeg Jets. He calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home.