Los Angeles (AFP) – Connor Hellebuyck stopped 47 shots as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1 in the opening game of their second round National Hockey League playoff series on Friday.
The 24-year-old American came into the game off back-to-back shutouts against the Minnesota Wild. He continued with another impressive performance against the Predators, who finished with the best record in the league this season.
His only blemish on Friday was allowing a goal to Kevin Fiala early in the third period which snapped his shutout streak at 163 minutes, dating back to game three of the first round.
It was the longest such streak in Jets’ team history.
Hellebuyck was seeking to become just the fourth goaltender in the NHL history to earn three straight shutouts in the same playoffs, which would have had him join Ilya Bryzgalov, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Patrick Lalime.
“We knew they would push hard but we were able to keep them to the outside and we buried the puck when we got our chances,” Hellebuyck said.
He said the team is starting to come together at the right time of the season.
“We are getting real close in the locker room and we know we can trust each other, that is the key.”
He also outduelled Predators star goalie Pekke Rinne, of Finland, who finished with 13 saves.
Mark Scheifele scored twice while Paul Stastny and Brandon Tanev scored singles for the Jets in the win.
Game two of the best-of-seven series is in Nashville on Sunday.