David Gustafsson’s first career NHL goal got things started for the Winnipeg Jets, as they cruised to a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Despite being short-handed six times, it was the Jets who had the game’s only power play goal, as they went one-for-three. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32 of 33 shots faced in the victory.
Winnipeg’s first four shots on goal were all high danger scoring chances, but the Sharks were the first to score in this one when Melker Karlsson scored on a breakaway shortly before the halfway point of the frame, on the Sharks’ third shot of the game.
With Timo Meier in the box for tripping, Patrik Laine scored a vintage Laine power play goal after taking a cross ice feed from Blaker Wheeler and one-timing it past Aaron Dell.
Late in the period, after taking a pass from Anthony Bitetto, David Gustafsson went for a bit of a skate by himself as the rest of his line changed. He dangled Erik Karlsson, then floated one towards the net that somehow eluded Dell and gave the 19-year-old his first NHL goal. It wasn’t quite Ehlers going bar down on Henrik Lundqvist, but it’s still a first goal. The frame ended 2-1 Winnipeg.
The Sharks out-shot the Jets 12-7 in the second period, but it was the Jets that found the back of the net. After a turnover, some nice passing led to Kyle Connor feeding Mark Scheifele all alone in front of the net to snap in his ninth goal of the year. Jack Rolsovic increased the margin as, fresh out of the penalty box, he picked up a puck knocked off Blake Wheeler’s stick and deposited it behind Dell.
Rosco had a chance to add another goal early in the third on a penalty shot, but missed wide on the glove side. The Jets would make it 5-1 with a little more than five minutes to go, as Kyle Connor scored on the empty San Jose net.
- Another strong performance from Connor Hellebuyck, as his save percentage returns to .930 on the season. He’s sitting at 12 wins on the year, and has a 73.7% quality start percentage, which is quite good (3rd in the NHL among goalies that have played 13 or more games). Hellebuyck continues to be a major reason for the Jets’ success.
- The fancy stats will say the Sharks had the bulk of the chances and shots, and overall they are likely a better team if they get anywhere near average goaltending. But when you’re letting in weak goals like the Gus tally, and your team save percentage is .887 and we’re 26 games into the season, it’s no wonder the Sharks aren’t in a playoff position.
- With the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings struggling, the Jets have a good chance of taking maximum points from their next two games, despite being back-to-back on the road. Winnipeg has also been better on the road than at home this year, with a 9-4-0 record while visiting.