Miller gets a hat trick in Vancouver’s 5-1 win over Winnipeg
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Bruce Boudreau had two big reasons to be happy after the Vancouver Canucks snapped a three-game winless skid with a 5-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
The Vancouver coach was glad to see J.T. Miller fill the net with his second career hat trick. He was also pleased goaltender Spencer Martin didn’t let that happen behind his crease and earned his first career victory.
“It’s great for him,” Boudreau said of Martin’s first win in his third game with Vancouver, and sixth overall. “I think that’s three outstanding games he’s played for us in a row.
“I can’t be happier. He kept us in there and he got points in every game for us. I think it’s the makings of a really good goalie.”
Martin, who also played three games for Colorado in 2016-17, made 33 saves to extended Winnipeg’s winless streak to a season-high six games.
“It’s incredibly special, and just even to get an opportunity to play and having it go well and get a win, I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet,” the 26-year-old said. “But hopefully we just keep building off it. It’s a really special day for me.”
Miller scored once on the power play and twice at even strength for the Canucks, giving him a team-leading 15 goals on the season. He also added an assist. The 10-year veteran’s first hat trick was March 13, 2018, when he played with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Brock Boeser had a goal and two assists and Elias Pettersson contributed a goal and assist for the Canucks, who were 0-1-2 coming into the game.
Andrew Copp scored for the Jets, who are 0-4-2 in their last six outings. Making his 13th straight start for Winnipeg, Connor Hellebuyck, stopped 28 shots before the 250 fans allowed at Canada Life Centre because of COVID-19 health orders.
“Just need to be a little bit better everywhere,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “Those little things are adding up right now. We’re just a little bit late to everything right now and it’s hurting us.”
The victory gave Vancouver a three-game sweep in its season series against Winnipeg.
Vancouver capitalized quickly on the game’s first penalty. Miller sent a one-timer past Hellebuyck just 10 seconds into the man advantage at 13:23 of the first period for his 13th goal of the season.
“It was just a weird game,” Miller said. “It felt a little like three-on-three, which is kind of good and bad because you’re typically getting a look but they’re going back the other way. The puck just kind of followed me around today and I got lucky a couple went in.”
Copp tied it two minutes later when he batted the puck into the net behind Martin for his 12th goal.
Miller added two more in the second for the 3-1 lead. Miller made it 2-1 after he held the puck for a second, then sent a wrist shot low to Hellebuyck’s far side at 5:25 of the middle period. Miller notched his third goal at 12:55 with a shot through Hellebuyck’s pads.
Boeser showed Vancouver’s power-play prowess when he scored seven seconds into their second man advantage off a rebound at 1:08. Pettersson fired in a high shot with six minutes left.
Notes – Jets forward Adam Lowry, son of interim coach Dave Lowry, played in his 500th NHL game. ... Winnipeg defenseman Johnny Kovacevic made his NHL debut — the fourth Jet this season to reach that dream. ... Vancouver forward Conor Garland and goalies Jaroslav Halak and Thatcher Demko were removed from COVID-19 health and safety protocols earlier in the day. Garland was on the ice and Halak backed up Martin. Demko was meeting the team in Calgary.
Canucks: At Calgary on Saturday.
Jets: At St. Louis on Saturday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports