VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)Missing key pieces wasn’t about to keep the Winnipeg Jets down on Saturday night.

With right-winger Blake Wheeler and defenseman Nate Schmidt sidelined by injuries, the Jets simply turned to less-familiar faces to overwhelm the Vancouver Canucks en route to a 5-1 win.

”That’s Winnipeg Jets hockey,” said Kyle Connor, who had a goal and an assist. ”That’s what we’ve been talking about all year. Next man up. Everybody do their job.

”(That’s a) great response from everybody. We needed help from everybody tonight, top to bottom. Like you saw on the score sheet, everybody contributed.”

Sam Gagner also scored and had a helper for the Jets (20-9-1), while Kyle Capobianco, Neal Pionk and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby all added goals. Pierre-Luc Dubois contributed three assists.

Capobianco made just his fourth appearance of the season for Winnipeg and Jonsson-Fjallby netted his first goal since Oct. 27.

”I love to see it,” said Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck. ”I love to see the guys succeed, especially with how hard they’ve been playing and how hard they’ve been working for me. I’m so excited for them.”

Hellebuyck made 22 saves and improved to 15-7-1 on the season.

Spencer Martin stopped 22-of-27 shots for the Canucks (13-14-3), who have yet to climb over the .500 bar in the 2022-23 campaign.

Vancouver, too, was missing key pieces, with forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser out due to a non-COVID illness.

The absences shouldn’t be an excuse, said Canucks captain Bo Horvat.

”Playing with new guys it’s always tough. But at the same time, guys are always gonna be hurt and we’re always not gonna have a perfect lineup and we’ve got to find ways to get it done without them,” said Horvat, who scored Vancouver’s lone goal.

”And it just wasn’t good enough by everybody.”

A sizable contingent of Jets fans in the crowd cheered as the final buzzer went, drowning out a smattering of boos from frustrated Canucks fans.

Vancouver finally got on the board after Winnipeg’s Dylan DeMelo was called for holding 14:28 into the third period.

Seconds into the man advantage, Horvat tipped a Quinn Hughes’ shot in past Hellebuyck from the middle of the slot.

The Canucks were 1-for-3 on the power play Saturday and Winnipeg went 1-for-2.

The Jets took a three-goal lead into the third period Saturday and refused to relent.

Gagner scored 56 seconds into the final frame, collecting a pass across the slot from Dubois and firing it in for his fifth goal of the season.

Jonsson-Fjallby followed, sending a wrist shot past Martin from the faceoff circle at the 7:59 mark to put the visitors up 5-0.

Josh Morrissey notched an assist and his 200th NHL point on Connor’s goal.


Jets coach Rick Bowness said Saturday that his team will be without Wheeler for about four weeks and Schmidt for four-to-six weeks. Winnipeg has placed Schmidt on injured reserve. The team has called up defenseman Ville Heinola from the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose on an emergency basis.

With Pettersson and Boeser out of the lineup, Vancouver called Lane Pederson up from the Abbotsford Canucks on Friday.


Jets: At Seattle on Sunday to finish a two-game trip.

Canucks: Host St. Louis on Monday night in the second of a three-game homestand.

AP NHL: and