Winnipeg Jets left wing Kyle Connor (81) controls the puck past New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba in the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
NEW YORK — Mark Scheifele scored twice and Connor Hellebuyck made 50 saves as the Winnipeg Jets beat the surging New York Rangers 4-1 on Monday night.
Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois also scored for the Jets, who are 6-3-0 in their past nine visits to Madison Square Garden. Connor, Josh Morrissey and Mason Appleton each had two assists for Winnipeg, which had lost two straight to open a four-game trip.
“We needed this win tonight,” Dubois said. “Results matter more than anything else.”
Hellebuyck, playing on back-to-back nights after a 4-2 loss at New Jersey on Sunday, stopped all 20 shots he faced in the first period and 30 more the rest of the way to improve to 26-16-1.
“It was a good clean game, a good team game,” Hellebuyck said. “We’ll take wins any way they come.”
Vincent Trocheck scored for the Rangers, who lost in regulation for the first time since Jan. 19 when they fell 3-1 at home to Boston. New York was 8-0-2 in their previous 10 games. Igor Shesterkin finished with 17 saves.
“Every once in a while you run into a goalie that’s standing on his head,” Trocheck said of Hellebuyck’s stellar performance. “You tip your hat to him.”
Dubois opened the scoring on the power play at 5:12 of the first, deflecting a shot by Morrissey past Shesterkin for his 24th goal.
Scheifele made it 2-0 with 3:28 left in the opening period, poking the puck past Shesterkin.
The Rangers outshot the Jets 20-9 in the first period and finished with a 51-21 edge. Hellebuyck made two dazzling saves on Rangers forward Chris Kreider in the third period, including a sterling glove stop with just over eight minutes remaining.
“He was outstanding tonight,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “We needed timely saves and we got them.”
In the second, the Rangers failed to convert on two early power-play chances before the Jets increased the lead to 3-0 when Connor scored his 26th goal at 6:04.
“They capitalized on their chances and we just didn’t put ours in,” said Rangers captain Jacob Trouba, who played six seasons for Winnipeg before he was traded to the Rangers in June 2019. “It was just one of those games.”
Morrissey, who also had an assist on Connor’s goal, is second on the Jets with 58 points and third in scoring among NHL defensemen behind San Jose’s Erik Karlsson and Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin.
The 27-year-old Morrissey also broke Dustin Byfuglien’s franchise record for points in a season (56) by a defenseman with his assist on Dubois’ goal. The current Jets franchise history including 11 years as the Atlanta Thrashers before the team relocated to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 campaign.
“To do this here at Madison Square Garden is special,” Morrissey said. “It’s a function of us having a great team and great players here.”
Trocheck ended Hellebuyck’s shutout bid at the 11-minute mark of the second with his 16th goal. Vladimir Tarasenko had the lone assist.
Scheifele scored his second goal of the game and team-leading 34th of the season with a backhand with 4:31 left in the third. Scheifele also scored twice in the previous game between the teams this season, a 4-1 Jets victory in Winnipeg on Oct. 14.
“We had 50 shots. Overall we played a good hockey game and didn’t win,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “Hellebuyck was great. You’ve got to give the other team credit.”
Forward Tyler Motte – acquired by the Rangers from Ottawa on Sunday – played on line with Jake Leschyshyn and Barclay Goodrow in his return.
Despite the loss, the Rangers are still 22-5-4 since Dec. 5. … The Rangers are 19-6-4 against the West Conference and 9-4-1 versus Central Division teams. … The Jets are 11-13-0 against Eastern Conference opponents. Winnipeg hasn’t posted a winning record against the East since 2018-19.
Jets: At the New York Islanders to finish a four-game trip on Wednesday night.
Rangers: At Detroit on Thursday night to open a two-game trip.
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