By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Nino Niederreiter viewed the Winnipeg Jets’ 5-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday as more than gaining two points.
Niederreiter, who scored a pair of power-play goals and had an assist in front of a season-high crowd of 14,405 at Canada Life Centre, saw the win as affirmation that the Jets can match up with any team.
“We came out wanting to win the game and go into the Christmas break with a good feeling,” Neiderreiter said. “I think we left it all on the line. I think we gave ourselves the feeling that we can compete against anyone.”
Gabriel Vilardi extended his goal-scoring streak to five games with a goal and an assist, while Josh Morrissey and Adam Lowry also scored to thrill a crowd about 1,000 fans short of a sellout.
Mark Scheifele contributed a pair of assists for the Jets (20-9-3), who have points in five consecutive games (4-0-1) and are 8-1-1 their past 10 outings.
The Jets also stretched a franchise record of holding opponents to three or fewer goals to 22 consecutive games.
Connor Hellebuyck made 24 saves to help Winnipeg finish a four-game homestand 3-0-1. Boston defenceman Brandon Carlo nixed Hellebuyck’s shutout bid with 5:38 remaining in the third period.
Jeremy Swayman stopped 28 shots for the Bruins (19-6-6), who fell to 1-1-3 in their past five games. Boston had won six straight meetings with Winnipeg before Friday’s loss.
“We know how good they are, so that’s a big standard that we want to be in the league,” Morrissey said. “I think we did a great job and everybody feels great.”
Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said he’d had a bad feeling at his team’s morning skate.
“I was worried this morning, I don’t really know why,” he said. “It wasn’t really because of anything I had noticed, I just had that feeling. It’s all excuses, anything I give you. We weren’t good.”
Winnipeg led 1-0 and 3-0 at period breaks.
“I think our start wasn’t very good,” Carlo said. “We didn’t come to play tonight and that’s on us. They did and it showed, especially in the first period and then throughout the game. We didn’t really get much momentum at any point.”
Morrissey had a goal early in the first period disallowed when a review confirmed a kicking motion put the puck behind Swayman.
But the defenceman made his sixth goal of the season count with 7.8 seconds remaining in the period. Morrissey cashed in a Vilardi rebound after a Vilardi and Scheifele two-on-one rush.
“Dominant. Dominant,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said of Morrissey’s first period. “He can take over the game. Both sides of the puck. He loves the challenges. He just loves to be challenged. And he rises to it.”
Morrissey extended his point streak to four games with a goal and four assists in that span. Winnipeg’s forecheck hindered Boston’s attack, said Swayman.
“Even when we were hemmed in our zone, they were covering all breakout opportunities, so tip our cap to them, they played a really solid game,” Boston’s goalie said.
Vilardi made it 2-0 when he banged the puck in from the side of the net at 11:17 of the second period. The Jets were awarded a penalty shot during a power play in that period.
When Vilardi flipped the puck to the front of the net, Boston defenceman Parker Wotherspoon gloved it and threw it, which was a penalty for closing his hand on the puck inside the crease.
Swayman stopped Scheifele’s backhand attempt on the penalty shot with his blocker. But Niederreiter scored during that power play to make it 3-0 with 2:29 remaining in the period.
Niederreiter scored his second power-play goal with 19 seconds remaining in the third.
Vilardi and linemate Nikolaj Ehlers extended their points streaks to five games. Vilardi has six goals and six assists in five games, while Ehlers’ assist on Vilardi’s goal gave him four goals and six assists.
Since returning Nov. 30 from an 18-game absence because of a knee injury, Vilardi has 14 points in 11 games.
Jets: Travel to Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Wednesday.
Bruins: Play the second of a back-to-back set Saturday in Minnesota against the Wild.