Hellebuyck pulled as Wild hammer Jets 7-1

The Winnipeg Jets’ winless streak is now five games after they were embarrassed 7-1 by the Minnesota Wild Friday afternoon in St. Paul.

The Jets surrendered five goals in the first two periods, and Connor Hellebuyck was pulled after giving up four goals on only 14 shots. But between the tipped shots and the rebounds, it’s hard to fault Hellebuyck on any of the four goals he allowed.

“We’re playing a little bit fragile,” said Hellebuyck. “There’s three zones and we have to care more about every single one of them starting in our end. We can’t be giving up seven. It’s one of those nights.

“But it’s just unacceptable if you want to win in this league.”

The Jets were blanked until the final five minutes, with Pierre-Luc Dubois ending the Jets’ shutout streak at 164 minutes. But they’ve still scored just five goals in their last five games.

“We just weren’t good tonight. We weren’t good enough defensively to win a game,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “I really don’t have a complaint about our offensive game, man. I mean, we’re not scoring goals, but we get on the road and you would put that up you’d be fine. It was the defensive game. We were giving up more odd-man (rushes) tonight than we’ve given up in a long, long time.

“There’s no happy guys in that room. Everybody is growly.”

In what was a sign of things to come, the Wild scored in the opening minute of the game when an Alex Goligoski point shot deflected off the stick of Nikolaj Ehlers and past a screened Connor Hellebuyck.

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The home team would add to their lead 7:47 into the period. Mats Zuccarello threw one on net from the point that glanced off Hellebuyck’s shoulder, off the post, off Hellebuyck’s back and trickled over the goal line.

Winnipeg managed 14 shots in the frame but Cam Talbot stood tall, adding to the recent trend of the Jets managing to get a high volume of shots on goal without finding the back of the net.

If the first period was a bad dream for the Jets, the second period was a nightmare.

Ryan Hartman made it 3-0 2:04 into the frame, left alone at the side of the net to bury a rebound.

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Forty-five seconds later, Zuccarello got his second of the game after the Jets turned it over trying to break out of their own end, spelling the end of Hellebuyck’s afternoon.

Things didn’t get much better with Eric Comrie in goal. Just shy of the midway point, a Jon Merrill shot knuckled its way past Comrie to make it 5-0.

The Wild had the Jets under siege in the second period, outshooting the visitors 21-6, thanks in part to six minutes of power play time as the Jets lost their composure.

If it weren’t for strong play by Comrie, the final margin would have been a lot worse.

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Having said that, the Wild did continue to pad the lead in the third. With 8:36 to go, Matt Dumba finished off a nice passing play to make it 6-0.

Playing in his 300th NHL game, Dubois finally broke the goose-egg with just under five minutes to go, beating Talbot on a wrist shot late in a power play, the first goal Winnipeg had scored in over 164 minutes of action.

But Minnesota would answer just 14 seconds later when the Jets turned it over in their own end and Kirill Kaprizov buried his sixth of the year after he picked up three assists already in the contest.

Fourteen Wild skaters registered at least a point in the blowout win.

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If there is any silver lining for Winnipeg, they managed to kill off all four Minnesota power plays and broke an 0/13 slide with the man advantage.

Talbot turned aside 30 shots for the win.

Comrie would finish with 21 saves, and with Hellebuyck exiting the game early, he’s likely to play again on Saturday night in Calgary.

“Tomorrow is on,” said Hellebuyck. “Tomorrow it’s on. There is no more of this. We’re going to give it tomorrow.”

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