By Jim Bender, The Canadian Press on December 20, 2023.
WINNIPEG – Winger Gabe Vilardi scored a goal and had two assists to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
Axel Jonnson-Fjallby and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist. Mark Scheifele and Neal Pionk also scored for Winnipeg, which moved into sole possession of top spot in the Central Division.
Patrick Kane and Olli Maatta replied for Detroit.
Goalie Laurent Brossoit stopped 26 of 28 shots for Winnipeg (19-9-3) before 12,571 fans at Canada Life Centre. James Reimer made 36 saves on 41 shots for Detroit (15-13-4).
It was the third of a four-game homestand for the Jets.
Scheifele salted the game away with Winnipeg’s fifth goal at the 15:12 mark of the third period, converting a setup from Vilardi.
Detroit pulled to within 4-2 at 8:41 of the final frame. Kane converted the rebound of a shot from Dylan Larkin from the side of the net. Moritz Seider also assisted.
The Jets took a 4-1 lead into the third period. Vilardi finished off a pretty three-way passing play with Cole Perfetti and Josh Morrissey. Vilardi took Perfetti’s pass and slid the puck into the empty side of the net.
Winnipeg upped their lead to 3-1 midway through the second period. Dylan Samberg’s long pass sent Jonsson-Fjallby on a breakaway and he beat Reimer over his left pad.
The Jets took a 2-1 lead when Ehlers, who was alone in front, took a great pass from Vilardi from behind the net. Ehlers then beat Reimer over his right shoulder. Dylan DeMelo also assisted.
The Wings had tied the score 1-1 early in the second period. Maatta fired a shot past Brossoit from the faceoff circle after a great pass from Kane. Andrew Copp also assisted.
The Jets opened the scoring late in the first period. Pionk’s point shot deflected past Reimer off Detroit defenceman Jeff Petry. Jonsson-Fjallby and David Gustafsson assisted.
Both goalies were sharp in the opening frame.
Brossoit stopped two dangerous shots off the stick of forward Daniel Sprong. Reimer made a quick glove grab on a shot from Winnipeg forward Adam Lowry from alone in front.
Detroit signed former Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson to a one-year contract on Tuesday. Red Wings netminders Ville Husso and Alex Lyon are out with injuries. … The Jets have not allowed more than three goals in a game for a franchise-record 21 straight outings. “¦ It was the 100th career game for Perfetti and Gustafsson.
Jets: Will host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
Wings: Return home to host the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2023.