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Chibrikov scores winner in NHL debut as Winnipeg Jets secure Jennings Trophy with 4-2 win over Canucks

The Winnipeg Jets have sure picked a great time to match their longest win streak in franchise history.

Despite scratching more than a third of their normal lineup, the Jets secured their eighth win in a row to close out the regular season by beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 Thursday night.

The Jets also secured the William M. Jennings Trophy for Connor Hellebuyck in the process, given annually to the goaltenders who played at least 25 games for the team that allows the fewest goals in a season.

The Canucks opened the scoring 5:22 into the game when Dylan DeMelo tried to clear a loose puck from in front of Laurent Brossoit but he sent it right off Conor Garland’s leg and into the net.

Winnipeg responded just over five minutes later when Alex Iafallo won a puck battle behind Vancouver’s net and slid the puck out in front where Gabriel Vilardi took it and tucked it around Thatcher Demko to tie the game.

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Brad Lambert, playing in his first NHL game, picked up a secondary assist on the goal for his first NHL point.

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Each team had a power play opportunity in the first and failed to capitalize, though both teams came close with Quinn Hughes hitting the post for Vancouver.

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Winnipeg grabbed their first lead of the night 55 seconds into the middle frame. Mason Appleton carried the puck up the right wing before sliding the puck over to Cole Perfetti, who wired a shot high over the glove of Demko for his 18th of the season.

The Jets held onto the lead for most of the period before Brossoit was called for delay of game for sending the puck out of play from behind his net. 25 seconds later, Elias Lindholm tipped a Quinn Hughes shot past Brossoit to level the score with 2:49 remaining in the second.

Winnipeg regained the lead 5:18 into the third thanks to Nikita Chibrikov, who was also playing in his first NHL game. After he stole the puck behind the Canucks net, he dropped it off to Nino Niederreiter before the rookie got a return pass and ripped it past Demko for his first NHL goal, sending the building into a frenzy.

Vancouver came close to tying the game with just under three minutes left but the Jets survived, and after the Canucks pulled Demko for an extra attacker, an exhausted Perfetti sent the puck down the ice into the open goal with 2:07 to secure the win.

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The eight-game win streak matches the franchise record that was set earlier this season and with their 52nd win of the season, they matched the franchise mark for wins in a season set in 2017-18.

Brossoit made 18 saves to earn his 15th win in his 23rd appearance, finishing just two games shy of meeting the threshold to get his name on the Jennings Trophy.

Winnipeg will now have a couple days before they begin the Stanley Cup Playoffs by hosting Colorado in Game 1 of their first-round series Sunday.

Puck drop is scheduled for just after 6 p.m.

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