DETROIT (AP) — Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor scored in the first period and Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves, leading the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
“I know this was kind of a hometown game for him, but he was big for us,” Jets interim head coach Scott Arniel said of Hellebuyck, a Michigan native. “He looked like he was rock solid and made the stops when we needed them, especially in the last 10 minutes.”
Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde agreed.
“I think probably look back analytically at the underlying numbers, they’ll say it was an even game, maybe a little in our favor,” Lalonde said. “(Hellebuyck) was the difference tonight.”
The Jets have won three straight and improved to 6-4-0 in their last 10 visits to Detroit.
“We obviously had a pretty tough start to the season, but it isn’t like we didn’t like our game, even the ones we lost,” Ehlers said. “We did like most of what we were doing and we just needed to continue to play that way.”
Ehlers opened the scoring with his first goal of the season at 16:28 of the first period. Just over a minute later, Connor added his team-leading fifth goal at 17:30. Mason Appleton and Nino Niederreiter (empty net) scored in the third period.
“They jumped on us a little in the second and third, but we weathered the storm, and then we got a timely goal and it took the wind out of their sails a little bit,” Appleton said.
Lucas Raymond scored at 3:18 of the second period for Detroit. Dylan Larkin and defenseman Moritz Seider assisted on the goal. James Reimer finished with 28 saves.
“I thought we had looks all game,” Raymond said. “I think that’s the next step we need to take as a team to be able to win these games, the tight ones in the third period. I think we played a solid game. We had chances to score three-four goals.”
The assist was Seider’s 100th point in 172 career games. He is the third-fastest Red Wings defenseman to reach 100 points behind Reed Larson (139 games) and Nicklas Lidström (160 games).
Seider, who has six assists in five career games against the Jets, is the fourth Detroit defenseman to reach 100 points before his 23rd birthday, joining Larson, Steve Chiasson and Lidström.
Larkin extended his season-opening point streak to eight games, with four goals and 11 assists.
Jets coach Rick Bowness is on a leave of absence after his wife suffered a seizure on Sunday. Judy Bowness is out of the hospital and at home recovering. Arniel, the associate coach, is serving as interim head coach.
Jets: At Montreal on Saturday night.
Red Wings: At Boston on Saturday night.