Fleury's 46-save effort leads Wild to 4-2 victory over reeling Jets
WINNIPEG — Marc-Andre Fleury made 46 saves to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday that extended the team’s point streak to 11 consecutive games.
The Wild are 9-0-2 in their past 11 contests. Fleury also has victories in his last four starts.
Marcus Foligno had a goal and assist and Frederick Gaudreau, Ryan Hartman and Mason Shaw, into an empty net, also scored for the Wild (37-21-7). Oskar Sundqvist and Jake Middleton each contributed a pair of assists.
Logan 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.
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.
Minnesota was coming off a 1-0 shootout loss Tuesday night at home against the Calgary Flames and it showed early in the game.
The Wild didn’t get their first shot on goal until 8:49 into the opening frame. The Jets had six shots at that point and Fleury made some vintage sprawling, glove-snapping saves.
Foligno scored with his team’s third shot of the period, ripping 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 stickhandled to the front of Hellebuyck and recorded his 12th goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Stanley scored his first goal of the season, and third of his career, 30 seconds later off a rebound. It was the 15th game in the defenceman’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 were outshooting the Wild 34-16 after two periods.
Winnipeg had its third power play of the game midway through the third period, but only got one shot on goal and Fleury continued making head-turning saves.
With Hellebuyck pulled for the extra attacker, a breakdown by the Jets gave Mats Zuccarello the puck and he passed it to Shaw for the empty-net goal 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.
Jets: Begin a three-game road trip Saturday in Florida against the Panthers.
Wild: Play the second game of a four-game road trip Saturday in San Jose against the Sharks.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2023.
Judy Owen, The Canadian Press