VANCOUVER — Not only did Andrew Copp score his first NHL hat trick Wednesday night, he added a little extra.
The Winnipeg Jets centre had a pair of power play strikes in the second and two more goals in the third to give the Jets (20-11-2) a dominant 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks (16-18-3).
“I’m going to have a hard time remembering my last four-goal game. I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s ever happened before. So it’s a pretty cool experience,” Copp said with a grin.
“Obviously, our power play was working again today, and just getting those two at the end were kind of cherries on top.”
Copp now has 10 goals on the season, with five coming in the last three games.
The 26-year-old from Ann Arbor, Mich., tends to play a more defensive role but has been working hard on his offensive skills, said Jets coach Paul Maurice.
“He’s spent an awful lot of time developing his hands, picking pucks along the boards. Just worked at it and worked at it,” Maurice said.
The work Copp’s put in hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates.
Defenceman Logan Stanely said called him “a great pro” and said he’s someone he looks up to.
“It doesn’t matter what day or what game of the year, he’s preparing the way everyone should and just a great guy off the ice,” Stanley said. “He’s been really good to me as a rookie this year and helped me out a lot. I’m so happy for him.”
Copp’s first of the night Wednesday came on a power play 5:53 into the second period after Vancouver was called for too many men.
Neal Pionk wound up and unleashed a blast from the blue line and Copp, stationed in the slot, deflected it in to get the Jets on the board.
A similar situation unfolded five minutes later. Once again, the Canucks were called for too many men and once again the Jets capitalized, with Copp knocking in a rebound.
Winnipeg was 2 for 3 with the man advantage on Wednesday. Vancouver failed to capitalize on two power plays.
“We take those two penalties that should never happen on our part and they capitalize on it, said Canucks centre Bo Horvat. “I thought for the majority of the game we carried the play and did some good things tonight so it’s frustrating to lose that one.”
The too-many-men penalties were a result of miscommunication, Horvat added.
“It’s just one of those mix up things. We’ve got to be sharper on the bench,” he said.
Copp added two more goals in the third, including an empty-net strike. Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets.
Goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 38 shots on the night and nearly recorded his second shootout of the week.
Nils Hoglander spoiled the feat, burying Vancouver’s lone goal with 1:25 left on the game clock.
Hellebuyck, who was in net Monday when the Jets blanked the Canucks 4-0, admitted that losing the shutout “stings a little bit.”
“I love shootouts but at the end of the day we win and that’s all I really care about, continuing to climb the standings and we got to look forward,” he said. “It’s not going to be an easy division and we need all the wins we can get.”
Thatcher Demko had 31 saves for Vancouver on Wednesday.
Despite the final score, Canucks coach Travis Green felt his group did a lot of good things on Wednesday.
As the year progresses, losses become a bit tougher to take, especially when the team is playing well, he said.
“Sometimes you play a pretty decent game and things don’t go your way. Does it sting? Yeah, a little bit,” Green said. “It should, though. That’s why we play the games, because they matter. And they feel great when you win and when you lose, they’re supposed to hurt.”
The Canucks will now get a brief reprieve. Their next game comes March 31 when they host the Flames. Meanwhile, the Jets are headed to Calgary where they’ll take on the Flames on Friday.
NOTES: Horvat returned to the Canucks lineup after missing much of the third Monday. He suffered a bone bruise after taking a slap shot to the foot early in the period. … Winnipeg has now won eight games in a row at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. … Jets defenceman Tucker Poolman played his 100th NHL game.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2021.