WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets outscored and outhit the Minnesota Wild en route to a two game lead in their best of seven conference quarterfinal series.
The Jets defeated the Wild 4-1 in a physical contest on Friday at Bell MTS Place as the series now shifts to Minnesota for the next two games of the series.
Winnipeg came out hitting again and only got stronger as game two wore on, scoring three times in the third period for the victory.
“I think we were physical.” Paul Stastny said. “We took some hits but we just kept going. (Joe) Morrow had a couple big hits. Obviously Buff (Dustin Byfuglien) had big hits at different times.”
The final tally had the Jets recording 38 hits to only 23 for Minnesota.
“We have a game plan, being physical isn’t one of our strong suits so we just want to play fast and be on the body.” Byfuglien said.
“If the hits are there take it, don’t go chasing them.”
Byfuglien finished the contest with a game high eight hits including a huge one on Wild captain Mikko Koivu in the second period.
“His presence is really impactful on the ice.” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said.
“Going into the corners with him, he’s so solid, he’s tough to get a piece of. When he decides to lay into somebody that’s not a whole lot of fun.”
Stastny, Tyler Myers, Andrew Copp and Patrik Laine scored the goals for Winnipeg.
Connor Hellebuyck made 16 saves for his second straight playoff win.
The Wild managed only eight shots on goal over the final two periods of play and didn’t register their first shot of the third until there was 4:55 left in the game.
“You guys try to make it sound like we’re not trying. Like they played really good and they beat us tonight.” Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“They won the battles and consequently they had the puck and it was in our zone.”
“They’re a pretty good defensive team this year. You can tell they’re playing hard. Not that we’re not playing hard. They’re playing well. They’re going to be tough.”
Zach Parise scored the lone goal for Minnesota while Devan Dubnyk made 40 stops.
The Jets have now won 11 straight home games.
The Wild had the bulk of the scoring chances in the early going as they recorded the first five shots on goal. The Jets killed off a Tyler Myers’ penalty and came on strong as the period wore on. The jets ended up outshooting the Wild 13-9 in a scoreless first period.
It was a much better start to the middle stanza for the Jets. They recorded eight of the first nine shots of the period before Wild defenceman Jonis Brodin was given a two minute tripping penalty.
The Jets could only muster a single shot on the ensuing man advantage though as the game remained deadlocked at zero.
With 11:19 left in the second period the Jets struck for the game’s first goal. Myers stepped around Jason Zucker at the blueline, skated in and beat Dubnyk far side. His shot bounced off the post and in for his first goal of the post-season. Jack Roslovic earned an assist for his first career NHL playoff point in what was his first Stanley Cup playoff game. Ben Chiarot also had an assist as the Jets took the first lead for the second game in a row.
The Jets had a one goal lead after two periods. They held Minnesota to just five shots in the period while registering 14 of their own on Dubnyk.
The Jets extended their lead midway through the final frame. Byfuglien sent a backhand in front of the net and Stastny shoveled the puck past Dubnyk. His first of the playoffs was also assisted by Laine and the Jets had their first two goal lead of the series.
Just a few short minutes later the building erupted again. Bryan Little fired the puck towards the net and Copp tipped it up and over Dubnyk. Roslovic had the other assist for his second point of the game and suddenly the Jets had a comfortable three goal advantage.
Winnipeg would get some insurance with a little over two minutes remaining. From inside the face-off circle Laine buried a one timer for his second goal of the playoffs. Myers and Nikolaj Ehlers drew the assists to make it a 4-0 lead.
The Wild would break up the shutout bid in the game’s final minute. Koivu’s shot was tipped in by Parise between Hellebuyck’s legs. Brodin had the other assist to put the Wild down by three goals.
Soon after they dropped the puck the Wild tried to send a message as all 10 skaters on the ice got into a scrum in the Wild zone. Brandon Tanev dropped the gloves with Daniel Winnik. Just three seconds after they cleaned up the debris Ben Chiarot and Nick Seeler got into a scrap but when it was all said and done the Jets had a 4-1 win and a two game series lead.
The Jets made only one change to their lineup following the game one victory as Roslovic replaced the injured Mathieu Perreault. Perreault left game one with an upper body injury
The series now moves to Minnesota for the next two contests with game three scheduled for Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
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