Wild beat Jets 4-2, extend points streak to 11 games
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Marc-Andre Fleury made 46 saves and the Minnesota Wild extended their points streak to 11 games with a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night.
The Wild are 9-0-2 in their last 11 games. Fleury has victories in his last four starts, stopping 119 of the 124 shots he has faced.
"Our goaltender won the hockey game for us," Minnesota coach Dean Evason said.
While Evason was thankful for Fleury's solid performance, he was more concerned about Wild leading scorer Kirill Kaprizov, who hit the ice after getting tangled with Winnipeg's 6-foot-7 defenseman Logan Stanley and left the game in the third period.
Evason didn't have an update on Kaprizov immediately after the game.
"He was able to skate off, so I guess if there's a positive that was one of them," the coach said.
Marcus Foligno had a goal and assist, and Frederick Gaudreau, Ryan Hartman and Mason Shaw also scored for the Wild (37-21-7). Oskar Sundqvist and Jake Middleton each had two assists.
Kaprizov had an assist, giving him 74 points in 65 games this season.
Stanley and Nino Niederreiter scored for the Jets (36-26-3), who are 2-7-2 in their last 11 games. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 19 shots.
"Well, (Kaprizov) stopped and I tried to finish my check on him," Stanley said. "Then I just fell on top of him."
He added he may have lost his balance a little bit.
"I wasn't expecting him to go down. It's just an unfortunate play," Stanley said.
The victory moves the Wild into a tie with the idle Dallas Stars atop the Central Division. The Jets remain fourth in the division and hold the second Western Conference wild-card spot, three points behind the idle Edmonton Oilers and four points ahead of idle Calgary.
Winnipeg head coach Rick Bowness viewed it as one of his team's best games of the season, noting 82 shot attempts. He said Fleury was "outstanding."
"Some nights you just don't get any puck luck and right now we're not getting any luck," Bowness said. "But I'll take that effort and the way we played against anybody all year."
Minnesota was coming off a 1-0 shootout loss Tuesday night at home against the Calgary Flames, and it showed early.
The Wild didn't get their first shot on goal until 8:49 in. The Jets had six shots at that point and Fleury made some vintage saves.
"I don't know if it's vintage groove, but it feels good," Fleury said. "You take one game at a time, right, one shot at a time and try not to think too far ahead."
Foligno scored with his team's third shot of the period, firing the puck from the high slot over Hellebuyck's right shoulder at 14:14.
The period ended with the Jets ahead 15-5 on shots on goal.
Four goals were scored in the second period, including three in a span of 86 seconds.
Gaudreau started it off at 7:06 when he beat Hellebuyck with his 12th goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Stanley scored his first goal of the season, and the third of his career, 30 seconds later off a rebound. It was the 15th game in the defenseman's injury-marred season.
Hartman made it 3-1 at 8:31 with a shot that went between Hellebuyck's pads.
Niederreiter's 20th goal of the season marked the 400th point of his NHL career. The former Minnesota skater scored after a puck bounced off a Wild player straight to him and he put it past Fleury with 2:45 left in the period. It also extended his point streak to four games (two goals, two assists).
The Jets outshot the Wild 34-16 through two periods.
With Hellebuyck pulled for the extra attacker, a breakdown by the Jets gave Mats Zuccarello the puck and he passed it to Shaw, who scored into an empty net with 38 seconds remaining.
The Wild entered the game not allowing a goal for 170 minutes and 57 seconds in regulation and overtime. They had previously been scored on in the first period of a 2-1 victory in Vancouver last Thursday.
When Stanley scored Winnipeg's goal 7:36 into the second period, it was the first goal Minnesota goalies had allowed in a total of 198:33.
Wild: At San Jose Sharks on Saturday in the second game of a four-game trip.
Jets: At Florida Panthers on Saturday in the opener of a three-game trip.
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Updated March 9, 2023