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Jury no longer out on Hellebuyck: he’s for real

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/1/2016 (1223 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for the play of rookie goalie Connor Hellebuyck to eventually drop off, chances are you’re probably not in any condition to be reading this.

The 22-year-old Jet once again strutted his stuff Friday night, turning aside 24 shots to earn his second career shutout.

The result improved Hellebuyck to 11-6-1 in 18 starts this season, dropping his goals against average to 2.00 and save percentage to a stellar .931.

Those last two figures were good enough for third and fourth best in the league, respectively, heading into Saturday night’s games.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/1/2016 (1223 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for the play of rookie goalie Connor Hellebuyck to eventually drop off, chances are you’re probably not in any condition to be reading this.

The 22-year-old Jet once again strutted his stuff Friday night, turning aside 24 shots to earn his second career shutout.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.

The result improved Hellebuyck to 11-6-1 in 18 starts this season, dropping his goals against average to 2.00 and save percentage to a stellar .931.

Those last two figures were good enough for third and fourth best in the league, respectively, heading into Saturday night’s games.

Friday’s game didn’t feature an onslaught of pucks — he faced just four shots in the second period — but he does get full credit for helping his team earn a much-needed two points in a game the Jets couldn’t find the back of the net in for the final 56 minutes and 53 seconds.

He’s not just making a case to stay in net once Ondrej Pavelec returns, he’s already convinced the jury.

ζ ON THE MEND: The surprising game-time scratches of centreman Adam Lowry and winger Drew Stafford left many questions after Friday’s win in Minnesota.

Jets coach Paul Maurice provided little detail about the injuries, but said each will be re-evaluated today and that he hoped both would be available for Monday’s game against Colorado.

ζ MOVING ON UP: Maurice bragged about the play of Joel Armia prior to Friday’s game, saying he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from the rookie forward through 14 NHL games this season.

With Lowry and Stafford out Friday, Maurice made good on that proclamation by promoting the 22-year-old Finn from fourth-line duties to the second trio alongside Mathieu Perreault and Nikolaj Ehlers.

Armia answered the call with another solid performance, playing physically on the forecheck and recording three shots in a season-high 17 minutes and 15 seconds of ice time.

It was just the fourth time this season Armia has hit double-digits in playing time, with his second-best mark coming in his first game with the Jets Dec. 18 when he played 10:54 in a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers.

"I thought he did a great job. He’s a strong guy who’s strong on the puck," said Perreault.

"I like playing with those two guys, just trying to get them fired up. They’re happy to get bigger minutes and for me, you know, just to play with them was fun."

ζ MVP, ALL-STAR GAME OR NOT: Blake Wheeler may have been snubbed by this year’s NHL all-star selection committee, but that hasn’t stopped his stock from rising.

Since the league announced earlier this week Dustin Byfuglien would be the Jets’ representative for the festivities in Nashville beginning Jan. 31, Wheeler has been nothing short of spectacular.

He has four points in his last four games and has scored the game-winning goal in the last two.

"He’s been an all-star for us. There’s no doubt about this," said Maurice. "This was a positional decision and Central Division issue, not whether Blake is an all-star in this league. He’s an all-star for us but he’s also an all-star in this league."

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

twitter: @jeffkhamilton

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

Read full biography

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