Final push fails to tie game, Jets lose 4-3 to Coyotes
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) battles with Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler (26) for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Jose M. Romero, The Associated Press
Published Saturday, January 14, 2017 11:48AM CST
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Wherever he goes lately, Brendan Perlini scores.
The Coyotes' 20-year-old forward had two goals, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Radim Vrbata each had three assists, and Arizona scored four first-period goals and held on for a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.
Perlini's fifth and sixth goals of the season came in the first, as did all three of Ekman-Larsson's and Vrbata's assists. Perlini had a hat trick Tuesday night in Tucson's 5-2 victory over Manitoba -- Winnipeg's farm team -- in the American Hockey League.
Perlini, at one point this season, led the AHL in goals with 11, and had a six-game goal streak. He has six goals in his last three games -- one in the NHL against the New York Islanders last week, three at Tucson and two on Friday.
"Going down to Tucson was great, big confidence boost and stuff," Perlini said. "Just trying to play the same style I do down there as I do up here. Coming back, obviously, I didn't miss a step."
The Coyotes chased Jets starting goalie Connor Hellebuyck before the midway point of the period.
The four goals were the most for Arizona in a period since scoring four second-period goals at Edmonton on Dec. 1, 2014. But Arizona had to hang on in the final seconds of the third period to win.
Peter Holland and Jamie McGinn also had goals for the Coyotes, who have five points from their last three games.
Shawn Matthias, Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler scored for the Jets, who have lost three of four.
The Coyotes went five days without playing and looked fresh after being down 1-0 less than four minutes into the game. Perlini skated around the Jets' Drew Stafford for a left-handed wrister at 4:49 of the first period.
Then came Holland's first goal as a Coyote at 8:26. He got enough of the puck for it to dribble over the goal line from close range.
"Before the break, we were getting tired a little bit, and I think this refreshed everybody," Vrbata said.
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McGinn beat Hellebuyck with a shot off the goalie's glove at 10:41, and Hellebuyck was taken out in favour of Michael Hutchinson. Hellebuyck saved just three of six shots faced.
Mike Smith, recently named an NHL All-Star for the first time, gave up the game's first goal to Matthias at 3:43 of the first period. Smith went on to make 34 stops.
The Coyotes scored off of Hutchinson, too. On a power play, Perlini skated in for a shot that went off Hutchinson's pads, and Perlini stayed with the rebound to put it into net from a difficult angle at 14:45.
It was the only goal allowed by Hutchinson, who had 22 saves.
The Jets made it 4-2 on Stuart's first goal of the season early in the third period, then 4-3 with 90 seconds to play on Wheeler's deflection of shot.
The Jets pulled Hutchinson and had an extra attacker on the ice for that goal, but couldn't equalize.
"Not the way we wanted to start off this road trip. First period, four goals is pretty rough," Wheeler said. "But I thought we responded pretty well."