July 10, 2020

Winnipeg
13° C, Fair

Full Forecast

Close this

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Hellebuyck aims to fix his game

Jet enjoyed blistering start, but team and goalie have fallen off

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck surveys the Bell MTS Iceplex during practice Friday. He’ll start in net for one of the two games against the St. Louis Blues this weekend, while Steve Mason gets the nod from coach Paul Maurice in the other contest.</p></p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck surveys the Bell MTS Iceplex during practice Friday. He’ll start in net for one of the two games against the St. Louis Blues this weekend, while Steve Mason gets the nod from coach Paul Maurice in the other contest.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/12/2017 (937 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Top-flight goaltending from Connor Hellebuyck helped to power the Winnipeg Jets to the top of the NHL’s Western Conference earlier this month.

Winnipeg’s pace has slowed lately, enough to drop the 18-9-5 Jets into fifth spot entering Friday’s action. It’s no surprise that Hellebuyck hasn’t been as good, either.

The latest hiccup, a 5-1 loss to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night, was due, Hellebuyck asserted, to some bad luck all around.

"I still like my game," said Hellebuyck, who finished the game with 25 saves. "I think I’m moving well and I’m seeing pucks well and I’m patient on the pucks. A little bit of a tough-luck situation for me in the last couple of games. Pucks have been bouncing and that happens during the season... It’s nice to have a practice day here and there and work on some things, too."

The Jets are in St. Louis tonight for a matchup with the 21-10-2 Blues. The teams play a return engagement in Winnipeg Sunday night and Jets head coach Paul Maurice said No. 2 goaltender Steve Mason will make his first start since Nov. 25 in one of the weekend games.

Hellebuyck is focused on reversing his fortunes.

He still owns a sparkling 16-4-4 record, 2.55 goals-against average and .917 save percentage, but in six of his past eight games he’s had a sub-.900 save percentage, with the high-scoring Jets winning only two of those games.

The 24-year-old Commerce, Mich., native was happy to finish the game after the Blackhawks took a 4-0 lead on 23 shots heading into the third period.

"I felt really good in the game," Hellebuyck said. "I thought I was moving well and I was seeing the pucks well. So the fact I played the whole game helps my stats and that’s personal. It doesn’t only help me but it helps the team believe in me — that I’m going to battle no matter what happens."

Maurice knows Hellebuyck is determined to ride it out, even when games appear out of reach.

"You know what, I’ve done that (pulled him) to him in the past," Maurice said. "And we talked about it. He wants the chance to fight through it. The first one he can stop, but I don’t expect him to, it’s a one-time, two-on-one. The next couple he doesn’t see, I don’t think he’s got a chance. But he’s earned the right to stay in the fight and see if we can get things going again. So I didn’t want to pull him or hang it on him."

Mason, for his part, is itching for his first action since suffering a concussion in San Jose nine games ago. The Jets play five games in the next eight days and so he knows he will get the call.

"It’s more or less the way the whole year has gone," Mason said. "I’m kinda used to it... I’ve always played the majority of the team’s games, so this year has been an entirely new experience. I think I’ve handled it well. But you just have to make sure that you’re utilizing the practice time to be the best that you can and make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance to succeed when game time comes around.

"We’re so busy. I’ll be getting some games and trying to be ready for them."

In eight games, the 29-year-old Mason is 2-4-1 with a 3.45 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage.

"We haven’t really practised, it’s been pre-game skates," Mason said. "I’ve been trying to work hard and try and stay sharp but games are different. I’m confident the work I put in will help me."

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 9:02 AM CST: Photo added.

9:37 AM: Cutline fixed.

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us