Andrew Copp scored two goals and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves to pick up his record 44th win of the season to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg.
Hellebuyck (44-11-9) broke Tom Barrasso’s record for most wins by an American-born goaltender set in the 1992-93 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Jets, an NHL-best 15-3-1 since March 1, also extended their franchise record with their ninth straight home win while also improving to 32-7-2 at home this season.
Kyle Connor and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for Winnipeg (52-20-10, 114 points) which finished second in the Central Division and will play the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which begin on Wednesday.
Brent Seabrook scored his seventh goal and Jeff Glass had 35 saves for Chicago (33-39-10, 76) which finished last in the Central Division. It was also the final game for 36-year-old left wing Patrick Sharp, a key member of three Stanley Cup championship squads for the Blackhawks, who announced his retirement before the game.
Byfuglien scored the only goal of the first period at the 15:12 mark with a one-timer from the high slot that beat Glass on his stick side during a 5-on-3 power play, an NHL-leading sixth 5-on-3 goal for the Jets.
Winnipeg then took control with three goals in the first 6:35 of the second period while building a 4-0 lead. Connor started the onslaught when he stole the puck from Seabrook at the Chicago blue line and got loose for a breakaway, beating Glass with a forehand through the pads for his 31st goal of the season, tops for all rookies.
Copp followed with two goals in less than three minutes, the first when he jammed a backhand pass from Adam Lowry into a wide-open left side of the net, and the second short-handed after outracing Duncan Keith for a loose puck and then blasting shot from the left circle over the shoulder of Glass and off the far post for his ninth goal of the season.
Seabrook cut it to 4-1 with a blast from the inside the blue line late in the second period.
Both teams wore jerseys with “Broncos” on the top of the back instead of their last names to honor the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team that was involved in a bus crash with a tractor-trailer en route to a playoff in Saskatchewan on Friday night that killed at least 15 members, including the team’s head coach and captain, and hospitalized 14 more. Players from both teams also formed a circle at center ice for a moment of silence and the national anthems.
-- Field Level Media