Vilardi propels Jets to 6-3 win over Wild

WINNIPEG — Laurent Brossoit didn’t exactly get his wish, but the Winnipeg Jets earned a victory and that’s all that counts.

The Jets goalie made 36 saves to backstop his team to a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday — a club that had defeated the Vancouver Canucks 10-7 on Monday.

“The mindset was I hope they got nothing left,” Brossoit said. “But I don’t think that was the case. You can tell they were pretty confident and zipping the puck around, especially on their power play.

“Lucky enough to make enough saves for the win.”

Gabriel Vilardi scored twice on the power play and added an assist to propel the win that halted Minnesota’s six-game point streak.

Kyle Connor had a goal and pair of assists, while Mason Appleton, Sean Monahan and Nino Niederreiter also scored for the Jets (34-15-5), who rebounded from a 6-3 Monday afternoon loss to the Calgary Flames — the most goals they've allowed this season.

Vilardi said there are areas to clean up, but he was glad to see the team flip the script.

“There’s going to be breakdowns every game, you’re not going to be perfect,” he said. “Obviously, we won, so it’s a bit of a better mood.”

Adam Lowry and Dylan DeMelo each contributed a pair of assists and Niederreiter added a helper.

Brossoit earned his eighth win in his 14th game of the season (8-4-2).

Marco Rossi scored twice and Kirill Kaprizov notched a goal and assist for the Wild (26-24-6), who set a franchise record for goals in a 10-7 home win Monday against the Canucks, including a franchise-best seven goals in the third period.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 of the 29 shots he faced for Minnesota, which is 5-1-1 in its last seven games.

“I don't believe we gave them too much,” Fleury said. “It was two tips in the third, a change of direction, a power-play goal that was a nice play back door, a couple shots I didn't see.

"So I didn't think we got played by any means. Not to worry. Put that one behind and keep going.”

Winnipeg has scored two power-play goals in three straight games. The last time the Jets had multiple power-play goals in three consecutive games was Feb. 19-23, 2012.

Jets head coach Rick Bowness is hoping the team's power-play units are turning the corner. It’s 6-for-11 in the past three games after going 0-for-22.

“You can see the confidence growing, the puck's moving a bit and great plays and the puck's going in the net,” Bowness said.

Winnipeg led 2-0 after the first period and 3-1 following the second.

Vilardi and Appleton scored 14 seconds apart to spot the home team a 2-0 lead.

Vilardi got things going with a power-play goal at 9:20 when he deflected a shot by Connor into the open side of the net.

Appleton quickly followed that up by beating Fleury with a high shot over his left shoulder at 9:34.

Connor made it 3-0 at 1:54 of the second when he took a pass from Vilardi and recorded his 20th goal of the season.

Vilardi has eight points, including four goals, in a three-game point streak. Connor’s three-game point run features one goal and six assists.

Rossi scored with four seconds remaining in the power play with a shot from the circle for his 16th of the season at 14:10 of the middle frame.

“When you pressure them so hard and they score, it's kind of like a punch-in-the-face moment, you know?” Rossi said. “But it's important for us to stick to it and pick out good stuff from the game.”

Vilardi made it 4-1 on the power play at 9:38 of the third and Monahan increased the lead to 5-1 just 58 seconds later.

Monahan has five goals in a three-game point streak, including a natural hat trick on Monday.

Kaprizov and Rossi then filled the net within a two-minute span to squeeze the score 5-3 with just under six minutes remaining.

Kaprizov has 14 points in a six-game point streak. Joel Eriksson Ek assisted on his goal and has 13 points in a six-game point streak.

Niederreiter scored an empty-net goal with 2:58 left.


The Jets played their fifth of seven back-to-back sets this season. They’re 3-2-0 in the first game and 5-0-0 in the second game. … Winnipeg is 13-3-1 against the Central Division this season, including three wins over the Wild. The last time Winnipeg won three games against Minnesota in a season was 2017-18.


Jets: Play Friday in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

Wild: Play Friday in Edmonton against the Oilers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2024.

Judy Owen, The Canadian Press