Hellebuyck propels Jets to sweep of Coyotes in home-and-home series
24-year-old goaltender makes 32 saves in victory
Connor Hellebuyck bounced back in a big way.
Pulled in a loss to Vegas last week, the Jets goaltender made 32 saves on Tuesday as Winnipeg beat the Arizona Coyotes for the third time in four games.
Hellebuyck, who improved his record to 9-1-2, began the season as the Jets' No. 2 goalie. His stellar play has turned him into the starter.
"This was definitely my redemption game," Hellebuyck said. "Any time you get pulled you have to enter strong, and I'm glad the guys played well in front of me."
Joel Armia, Bryan Little and Adam Lowry scored for the Jets (10-4-3) in an 11-minute stretch in the second period to turn a one-goal game into a 4-0 stranglehold.
Persistence is 🔑<br><br>🍎s to <a href="https://twitter.com/kulioo7?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kulioo7</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/ALowsyPlayer17?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ALowsyPlayer17</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoJetsGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoJetsGo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ARIvsWPG?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ARIvsWPG</a> <a href="https://t.co/h4GQViuJ6p">pic.twitter.com/h4GQViuJ6p</a>—@NHLJets
Andrew Copp, with a first-period goal, opened the scoring. The Jets also beat the Coyotes (2-15-3) in Glendale, Ariz., last weekend to finish a three-game road trip.
"We can't always rely on [Mark] Scheifele's line to do the heavy work," Little said. "There's going to be games where they're going to be off or not get on the scoresheet. It's up to the other lines to chip in."
Alex Goligoski's goal 5:21 into the third spoiled Hellebuyck's bid for his first shutout of the season.
The Jets inducted Dale Hawerchuk into their hall of fame before the game and unveiled his No. 10 banner in the rafters. Winnipeg players wore a silver No. 10 patch on their sweaters to honour the Jets legend.
Coyotes miss opportunities
Winnipeg was forced to kill off three straight penalties in a first period that saw Arizona outshoot the Jets 13-9.
Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet lamented Arizona's early missed opportunities while recognizing the Jets ability to finish theirs.
"Thirteen shots they get three goals," he said. "Right now we have to play a perfect game to win. Hellebuyck, he made some unbelievable saves, and the next thing you know we're just chasing the game.
"You've got to make plays and we didn't score. How do you do that? You got to keep working at it. There's no method. We're not going to go trade for Mario Lemieux."
The Jets and Coyotes had moments of wide-open 1980s-style hockey, with Winnipeg finding gaping spaces to skate against the team with the NHL's worst record. Arizona lost its fifth straight game and seventh of its last eight.
Little will... go... all... the... WAY!!!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoJetsGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoJetsGo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ARIvsWPG?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ARIvsWPG</a> <a href="https://t.co/phfJz8URC1">pic.twitter.com/phfJz8URC1</a>—@NHLJets
"I've been saying it all year: You can't complain, you can't moan. Like, just go play, work hard," Coyotes left-winger Brendan Perlini said. "There's no other special secret or special juice. You just have to work your way out of it everyone shift after shift."
Antti Raanta made 10 saves on 13 shots for Arizona (2-15-3) before being chased from the game after Little's breakaway goal 5:08 into the middle frame. Scott Wedgewood made 16 saves on 17 shots in relief.
The Jets inducted Hawerchuk, the Calder Trophy winner in 1982 as NHL rookie of the year, into their new hall of fame in a 13-minute pre-game ceremony that yielded boisterous chants of "Ducky, Ducky" — Hawerchuk's nickname — from the home crowd. His number hangs next to three other stars of the bygone Jets franchise: Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson and Bobby Hull.
"It's a special night. Obviously, he means a ton to this city and organization," said Lowry, who benefited from a turnover in the Arizona zone and immediately snapped a shot past Wedgewood with 7:21 left in the second. "Any time you have him in the building it's a happy night for the fans. It's nice to send them home happy with a good result as well."