Nils Hoglander scored twice to lead the visiting Vancouver Canucks to a 3-1 win over the slumping Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.
Despite the victory, Vancouver was officially eliminated from Stanley Cup playoff contention.
Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks (21-26-3, 45 points), who were ousted when the Montreal Canadiens reached overtime in their clash with the Edmonton Oilers and clinched the final North Division playoff spot.
Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko made 39 saves.
Kyle Connor scored Winnipeg’s lone goal and goalie Laurent Brossoit stopped 28 shots for the Jets (28-23-3, 59 points).
Winnipeg has lost seven straight home games and has just one win in 10 games — in which it has scored only 17 goals. The Jets have a one point lead on the Canadiens for third place in the North. Winnipeg has two more games to play while the Canadiens have one game remaining.
The Jets play host to the Canucks on Tuesday night before closing out the regular season with a Friday home clash against the division-champion Toronto Maple Leafs.
When the puck dropped, the Canucks were in must-win situation to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, and Hoglander gave them a huge boost when he opened the scoring at the 3:04 mark. The rookie intercepted an ill-advised pass at the Vancouver blue line to create his own breakaway and buried a rebound.
Horvat snapped an 11-game drought when he doubled the lead just over four minutes later. Matthew Highmore’s shot went wide, but Tanner Pearson was first on the puck behind the net and put a pass to the slot for the Canucks captain to net his 17th goal.
Connor provided a goal the Jets needed to prevent the game from getting out of control. Connor was shockingly left unchecked in front of the net when Mathieu Perreault had the puck in the corner. He made no mistake once he received the pass for his first goal in eight games at 10:44 of the opening frame.
However, Hoglander restored Vancouver’s two-goal edge and rounded out the scoring just past the midway point of the third period. He attempted to send a cross-ice pass, but the puck banked off defender Josh Morrissey and into the net for his 12th goal of the campaign.
–Field Level Media