42-save shutout by Hellebuyck over Golden Knights has Jets climbing in playoff race

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Connor Hellebuyck made 42 saves to stop the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

It was the goaltender’s fourth shutout this season and the 28th of his career.

Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist for Winnipeg (30-24-10). Pierre-Luc Dubois and Neal Pionk also scored, and Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each contributed two assists.

The injury-plagued Golden Knights fell to 34-28-4, extending their slipped road to seven straight games and two shutouts.

Goalie Logan Thompson played in consecutive games and stopped 22 shots for Vegas. He was also in the net in the team’s 3-0 loss to Minnesota on Monday night.

The Jets started a four-game homestand and a stretch of six games in 10 days.

Winnipeg is now two points behind Vegas for the second Western Conference wildcard, but the Dallas Stars stayed a point behind the Golden Knights before hosting the Edmonton Oilers in a game later Tuesday night.

The recent trend of taking a while to get the first shot on goal resurfaced in Winnipeg in the opening stages.

The Jets didn’t fire a puck at Thompson until 3:06 p.m. when Ehlers got the netminder going and the crowd let out a rousing Bronx cheer.

Paul Stastny used the Ehlers’ rebound for his team’s second shot. Vegas had 11 shots at this point.

The dip in shots included 61 seconds of power play for Winnipeg, plus a brief period before the Vegas penalty was assessed when Hellebuyck was drawn for an extra skater.

Vegas forward Paul Cotter was called up to hook at 1:27 p.m., followed by Jets captain Wheeler, who was dinged at 2:28 p.m. for the same violation.

Part of Hellebuyck’s work at the other end of the ice was staying alert after a few Winnipeg envelopes and denying Jack Eichel his scoring opportunity.

Tonight’s FIRST STAR – with 4️⃣2️⃣ saves and his FOURTH shutout of the season, CONNOR HELLEBUYCK 🎣 🌟 #GoJetsGo | #VGKvsWPG pic.twitter.com/N0h3APvwPy

—@NHLJets

The opening phase ended with the guests leading 17:4.

The Jets improved their slow shooting in the second period, taking just 5:06 to score their first.

They made the second shot when they went on the power play at 5:38, and Dubois notched his 25th goal of the season on a rebound at 6:16.

Evgeny Svechnikov had a goal erased two minutes later after Vegas successfully challenged Dubois for offside.

Svechnikov then went to the box to slash, but Vegas came closest when Chandler Stephenson rang a shot off the post.

Scheifele fended off an Ehlers shot to make it 2-0 at 15:14.

Shots on target in the second were 12-11 for the Knights.

Hellebuyck was the backbone of his team in the third game, stopping Dylan Coghlan’s first scoring chances on even strength and then Stephenson on the power play.

Pionk scored his third goal of the season with a one-timer at 11:06 and Ehlers contributed his 19th at 13:51.

CLOCK | Ehler’s top goal in 5 games in a row:

Ehlers scores for 5th consecutive year as Jets Blank Golden Knights

Winnipeg defeats Vegas 4-0, Nikolaj Ehlers extends his scoring streak to five games. 0:49

Winnipeg won the inter-club relay series 3-0.

Newly acquired Jets forwards Mason Appleton (Seattle) and Zach Sanford (Ottawa) were suited for the game, playing on the wings with Stastny in the third row.

Winnipeg hosts the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. Vegas is home to the Nashville Predators on the same day.