SAN JOSE, Calif. – David Gustafsson scored his first NHL goal and Kyle Connor added a goal and assist as the Winnipeg Jets stayed hot with a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.
The Jets (15-9-1) began their three-game road swing through California in style and improved to 9-2-1 over their past 12 games.
Winnipeg scored two goals in each of the first two periods to open up a comfortable lead and slow down the Sharks (13-12-1), who had won 10 of their past 11 games to begin a climb up the Pacific Division standings.
The Jets came in with the league’s 29th-ranked penalty-kill unit, but held the Sharks scoreless on seven chances with the man advantage.
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who made 51 saves in a Nov. 1 victory in San Jose, was terrific again Wednesday, stopping 32 of 33 shots.
San Jose led early on Melker Karlsson’s goal nine minutes into the game, but Winnipeg struck twice to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Patrik Laine buried a power-play goal on a cross-ice pass from Wheeler to tie it 1-1. Just two minutes before the break, the 19-year-old Gustafsson notched his first career goal in impressive fashion.
He manoeuvred past San Jose’s Erik Karlsson at his own blue line, then took the puck all the way down and fired a wrist shot past goalie Aaron Dell and into the net for a 2-1 Jets lead.
Mark Scheifele and Jack Roslovic padded that cushion with goals in the second period and Connor scored at the 14:47 mark to cap the scoring.
NOTES: Blake Wheeler, who had two assists, now has 15 career assists against San Jose, contributing to a team-high 21 career points against the Sharks. … San Jose entered the night leading the NHL in home penalty-kill percentage (95.5 per cent) and allowed just its third power-play goal of the season at home in the first period.
Jets: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Friday afternoon to continue a three-game California road swing.
Sharks: Host the Kings on Friday afternoon, having just beaten them in Los Angeles on Monday.
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