The Winnipeg Jets may want to talk to the schedule makers about avoiding a trip to St. Paul next year around American Thanksgiving.
Last year, it was a 7-1 bludgeoning on Black Friday. This year, with the game the night before Thanksgiving, Winnipeg again got behind the eight-ball early en route to a 6-1 loss.
The Wild took a three-goal lead early in the second period. The Jets cut the gap to two before the end of the stanza, but the Wild scored three more times in the final frame to put the stamp on another convincing win against their division rival.
“I think a lot of it just falls on us,” said Kyle Connor. “(If) we play the right way, we play the way we know how to play – we can beat any team in this league.”
Connor scored their lone goal in the loss.
Marcus Foligno notched a pair for the Wild, while Matt Boldy recorded three points, and Brandon’s Calen Addison had a goal and an assist.
The Jets gave the Wild five power plays and they capitalized twice on the man advantage to win their first of four meetings this season.
“We don’t flush it, not a chance,” said head coach Rick Bowness. “Not letting that go. There’s some concerns with how we played. The lack of discipline is really bothering me tonight. Penalties at the wrong time, turnovers at the wrong time, yapping at the refs. Those things lead into other issues, but clearly, not our best effort.”
“You have to learn from it, you have to,” said defenceman Nate Schmidt. “When you don’t play a good first 15 minutes, it doesn’t give you a good chance. So, you have to make sure you learn from it.”
Bowness left Hellebuyck in the game for all six goals.
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“He’s a competitive guy,” said Bowness. “Listen, they want to finish the game. And he’s a competitive guy. I love the guy and I love his compete. He wasn’t at fault. It’s not like, okay, the goalie is having a bad night. That wasn’t the case at all. So, I let him finish the game.”
The Wild got on the board just as a power play expired when a wrist shot from Mason Shaw through a screen found its way past Hellebuyck at the 8:20 mark of the first.
The Winnipeg netminder did what he could to keep his team in it as they were outshot 16-6 in the opening 20 minutes but only trailed 1-0.
That changed early in the second when Addison fired a wrist shot that hit Hellebuyck’s shoulder, fluttered in the air and trickled over the goal line less than three minutes into the period.
Just 68 seconds later, the lead ballooned to three. Hellebuyck couldn’t control a rebound off a Matt Dumba shot, redirecting the puck right to the stick of Foligno who deposited the puck into the open net.
Winnipeg would get on the board at the 14:18 mark when Connor carried the puck out of the corner and wired a shot past Filip Gustavsson to give the Jets a glimmer of hope through two periods.
But that glimmer was snuffed out quickly in the third. With the Wild on the power play, Kirill Kaprizov took the puck out of the corner and got a good shot on net with his stick between his legs, and while he didn’t bury the fancy play, he was able to bang the rebound past Hellebuyck to make it 4-1.
Foligno added his second of the night a few minutes later off a bad Blake Wheeler turnover to put the game well out of reach, though that didn’t stop the offensive onslaught.
Just shy of the midway point of the period, Boldy scored on the power play to make it 6-1. Winnipeg challenged for goaltender interference but after review, the goal held up and that put the Wild back on the man advantage, though this time the Jets killed it off.
Hellebuyck turned aside 31 shots in the loss. Gustavsson made 28 saves in the win as the Wild improve to 9-8-2 while Winnipeg falls to 11-6-1.
The Jets will try to regroup and bounce back Friday night in Dallas. Pre-game coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. on 680 CJOB with the puck dropping just after 7:30.