Hellebuyck props up Jets in 2-1 win over Oilers

EDMONTON — Neal Pionk and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets pushed past the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Saturday night.

Connor Hellebuyck had 31 saves for the Jets (23-13-1) who have won two in a row.

Klim Kostin replied for the Oilers (20-16-2) who had a two-game winning streak halted and have lost four straight at home.

Edmonton controlled most of the early action, but it was Winnipeg that struck first with a power-play goal with 4:16 remaining in the opening period as Connor made a nifty backhand pass to Pionk and he snapped in his sixth before Oilers starter Jack Campbell could get across.

The Oilers continued to press to no avail in the second period as Hellebuyck stood tall.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid came closest to getting his team on the scoreboard when he rang a shot off the post midway through the middle frame and also set up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a glorious opportunity late in the period that Hellebuyck was able to get across to stop. Edmonton outshot Winnipeg 20-10 through 40 minutes.

The Oilers evened the game 4:29 into the third period off a faceoff as Kostin was able to beat Hellebuyck up high for his third goal in the last two games and fifth of the season.

Winnipeg regained the lead 2 1/2 minutes later, however, as Connor was able to tip a long shot by Pionk past Campbell for his 16th of the season.

Edmonton had a late power play and battled hard to knot the game back up with a furious finish, but couldn’t get another puck past Hellebuyck. It also appeared that Kostin may have suffered a serious leg injury in the dying seconds.

In addition, McDavid’s point scoring streak was halted at 17 games.

Winnipeg only had 17 shots on Campbell.


Winnipeg has a battered and bruised club with seven players on the shelf for Saturday’s contest — Nikolaj Ehlers (sports hernia), Mason Appleton (wrist), Saku Maenalanen (upper body), Logan Stanley (upper body), Nate Schmidt (upper body), Blake Wheeler (groin) and Cole Perfetti (upper body). Star defenceman Josh Morrissey left their last game against Vancouver on Thursday in the third period with a lower-body injury, but was able to return against the Oilers. … Forward Kristian Reichel made his season debut with the Jets. … The Oilers were without Evander Kane (wrist), Ryan Murray (back) and Leon Draisaitl (undisclosed). It was only the eighth game Draisaitl has missed since 2016. … The Edmonton fans applauded Jets forward Sam Gagner for reaching the 1,000 NHL regular-season games played plateau in their last game. Gagner played 542 of those games for the Oilers.


Both teams return to action with games on Tuesday.

The Oilers play the second game of a four-game homestand when they host the Seattle Kraken. The Jets launch a three-game homestand against the Calgary Flames.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2022.

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press