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Connor Hellebuyck’s second consecutive shutout and a four-goal first period powered the Winnipeg Jets as they completed a series victory by defeating the visiting Minnesota Wild 5-0 in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals Friday night at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
It’s the first postseason series triumph for the Jets in franchise history.
“It’s a great step,” Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said of the historic series win. “It’s not time to dwell on that, but at the same time, I think we’re proud of the work we put in. Minnesota’s a great team. To advance in the playoffs is a great accomplishment, especially when you’re playing a group like that.”
Jacob Trouba, Bryan Little, Brandon Tanev and Joel Armia scored in the game’s opening 12 minutes.
“I think when you have the opportunity to eliminate somebody, you want to jump on them as fast and hard as possible,” Wheeler said of the Jets’ blazing start. “I think teams that are on the brink come in with hope and the faster you take it away from them, the faster — you know, you can kind of squash them a little bit.”
Mark Scheifele added his fourth goal of the series in the third period.
Hellebuyck, named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy earlier in the week, made 30 saves. Three nights earlier, he also stopped all 30 shots he faced for his first career postseason shutout.
The outcome made a Game 6 unnecessary Sunday in Saint Paul, Minn.
The Jets were 32-7-2 during the regular season at home, and they’ve gone 3-0 in postseason home games. They hold a 12-game overall home winning streak heading to the Western Conference semifinals.
Paul Stastny and Dustin Byfuglien each recorded two assists.
Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk didn’t make it through the first period, giving up four goals on 10 shots. Alex Stalock finished, stopping 15 of 16 shots.
Trouba scored just 31 seconds into the game as the Jets put the Wild in trouble right from the opening minute.
The Jets played without defenseman Josh Morrissey, who drew a one-game suspension after an illegal crosscheck on Minnesota center Eric Staal in Game 4.
Winnipeg defenseman Tyler Myers had been out since sustaining a lower-body injury in Game 3. He was back and logged nearly 23 minutes Friday night.
The Wild played for the second game in a row without left winger Zach Parise, who suffered a broken sternum in Game 3.
Minnesota added defenseman Ryan Murphy to the lineup for his first career playoff game. He was even in plus-minus.
Minnesota was trying to recover from a 3-1 series deficit much like it did twice during the 2003 postseason.
—Field Level Media