WINNIPEG — Tristan Jarry served as a barrier the Winnipeg Jets just could not get through.
The Pittsburgh goaltender stopped all 32 shots he faced, leading the Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.
It was Jarry’s first shutout of the season.
“It’s always nice when you don’t let anything in,” said Jarry, who had been battling an undisclosed injury recently. “I thought the guys did a great job there, boxing out early, and it allowed me to see a lot of pucks. I was seeing tips and played well positionally.”
“I just thought he was tracking the puck and he was in control,” added Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan about Jarry. “He was big and I thought he made good decisions on exchanges with our defencemen. I liked everything about his game.”
Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel scored for Pittsburgh (8-7-3).
Rust benefited from a gift by Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck, who gave the puck away to Sidney Crosby while skating out of the net for an extra attacker. Crosby passed it to Rust, who potted the puck into the vacated net to give the visitors a 2-0 lead with less than two minutes left.
Despite the late goal sealing it for his side, Rust credited Jarry for the victory.
“[Jarry] was awesome,” Rust said. “Jarry has been an awesome goalie for us for a very long time. He made very key saves for us tonight.”
Hellebuyck stopped 29-of-31 shots for the Jets (10-5-1) before a sellout crowd of 15,325 fans at Canada Life Centre.
Zucker opened the scoring 53 seconds into the third period, converting a pretty pass from Evgeni Malkin. Guentzel scored into an empty net with 3.5 seconds left.
“They got the lead early in the third and did a pretty good job of breaking it out and being tough to get through in the neutral zone,” Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey said. “Both goalies played well, and it probably could have went either way for a lot of the game.”
The Jets held a 23-22 shot advantage through the first 40 minutes as both goaltenders held down their respective forts. Hellebuyck made a solid save on Pittsburgh's Ryan Poehling in addition to some quick stops on screened shots.
Morrissey and Cole Perfetti both came close to opening the scoring for Winnipeg during a pair of power plays in the second, but were stoned by Jarry.
“(Jarry) played great, obviously made some big saves,” Morrissey said. “Helly (Hellebuyck) played great as well. … You’d like to get your goalie some offence when he’s playing that well. We have to figure out what we can do better and be ready for Monday.”
Despite the outcome, the Jets are not hanging their heads.
“I think there are some positives there,” said Jets forward Adam Lowry. “They're a pretty good team. I know they're not thrilled with their record right now, but they've got a lot of great players and they play with structure. They made it difficult for us to get to the net.
“I thought, for the most part, it was a pretty even game. I thought both teams had some pretty good chances. Both goalies had some really good saves. Ultimately, one shot was going to be the difference.”
The Jets announced that veteran forward Nikolaj Ehlers is scheduled for a hernia operation and will be out of action. Ehlers, who only played two games this year, is the third forward that Winnipeg has lost to injury this season. The others are Mason Appleton and Morgan Barron, both with wrist injuries … Jets defenceman Dylan DeMelo missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. Veteran Kyle Capobianco replaced him again. Defenceman Ville Heinola, who was recently recalled from the Manitoba Moose farm team, sat out for the second straight game. DeMelo is expected to return on Monday … Jets forward Kyle Connor played his 400th NHL game Saturday night … With four points against Minnesota on Thursday, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby moved past Gordie Howe into 10th place on the NHL’s career list of players with three-points games (163) and is just one behind Jari Kurri.
Jets: Will host the Carolina Hurricanes in the last of a three-game homestand on Monday.
Penguins: Will play the Blackhawks in Chicago on Sunday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2022.
Jim Bender, The Canadian Press