WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Josh Morrissey had a goal and two assists as the Winnipeg Jets beat the San Jose Sharks 6-2 Monday night to move closer toward securing a playoff berth.
Adam Lowry, Mason Appleton, Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and assist, and Pierre-Luc Dubois also scored for the Jets. Nino Niederreiter and Dylan DeMelo each had two assists. Connor Hellebuyck made 19 saves in his 12th consecutive start as Winnipeg finished a five-game homestand 4-1-0.
“I think we’re playing with a freedom since we got back off the road,” Morrissey said. “For this entire homestand, we got some nice rest, which was awesome after a tough stretch of road hockey.”
The Jets, who received a standing ovation from 13,428 fans shouting “Go Jets Go” at Canada Life Centre, play their final two regular season games on the road against Minnesota and Colorado. Winnipeg now has 93 points and can clinch the Western Conference’s final wild card berth by gaining at least a point in their final two games.
“We’ve been preaching the last little while to stay aggressive, stay aggressive. We’re going for it,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said.
Erik Karlsson scored twice for San Jose, giving him 100 points this season. He’s the first NHL defenseman to reach that mark since the New York Rangers' Brian Leetch in 1991-92.
“I think I’m physically and mentally in a good spot in my life and I’ve just been trying to keep it going day by day and keep the motivation going as best as possible,” Karlsson said. “You know, it’s been tough as of lately but (I’ve) managed a way to get it done and I’m happy about that.”
James Reimer stopped 27 shots for the Sharks.
Winnipeg led 3-1 after the first period and the score stayed the same into the third.
Karlsson took a pass from second-year forward Jacob Peterson and beat Hellebuyck 20 seconds into the game. Peterson extended his career-high point streak to seven games (two goals, five assists). Logan Couture also picked up an assist, giving him 700 career points.
“It’s a cool milestone,” Couture said. “Not a lot of players that play this game in this league get to that level so I cherish that. It means a lot to me.”
Dubois evened it up on the power play with a one-timer at 1:11, which gave the center a career-high 62 points in 72 games. Nikolaj Ehlers contributed an assist, stretching his point streak to five games with three goals and four assists.
Lowry got his stick on a loose puck after Niederreiter's wraparound attempt and made it 2-1 at 7:14.
Connor widened the lead by tipping in DeMelo’s point shot with 5:34 left in the first.
Appleton made it 4-1 just 16 seconds into the third when he one-timed a rebound.
Karlsson scored his second goal of the game on the power play at 3:42, but Morrissey fired the puck past Reimer two minutes later and Scheifele scored his 41st at 7:35.
“It’s a lot of points, and he certainly deserves it,” Couture said of Karlsson. “He’s created a lot offensively for us this year. He could probably be at 120 or 130 by now if guys would finish off some of the dishes he’s made. But 100, it’s a special number.”
Karlsson also became the first Swedish-born defenseman in NHL history to reach 100 points. Defensemen previously recorded 100-point campaigns 14 times in NHL history. Bobby Orr did it six times, Paul Coffey five seasons and Leetch, Al MacInnis and Denis Potvin once each.
“I’ve been lucky to coach some great hockey players, but none greater than him, I’ll tell you that,” San Jose coach David Quinn said. “This guy has so much talent and so much skill. He’s such a brilliant hockey player, but he’s got the physical attributes to match. His physical gifts and his mental skills all work together. He’s competitive and fearless and just got world-class talent. And he’s healthy. Watching him every day, I knew how good he was, but I didn’t know he was this good. It’s just been a lot of fun to watch.”
Sharks: At Calgary on Wednesday night.
Jets: At Minnesota on Tuesday night.
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