Kyle Connor scored a pair of goals for the second straight game to help the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 overtime victory in the rematch with the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday at Bell MTS Place.
The Jets scored in the first minute and held the lead for 57 straight minutes. But the Habs pressed hard for the tying goal in the third period, and scored with the goalie pulled with under two minutes remaining to force an extra frame.
The Jets still managed to get the two points as Nikolaj Ehlers scored on a 3-on-1 just 55 seconds into the overtime period.
It was a bounce back game for the Jets who weren’t at their best two nights earlier in a 4-2 loss to Montreal.
The Jets still haven’t lost back-to-back games in regulation time this season, and they still haven’t lost a game in regulation when leading after two periods, now 9-0-2 for the season when holding the lead after 40 minutes.
“We’ve been a really, really strong third period team,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “But we didn’t move the puck.
“I haven’t found that to be part of our game or a third period theme for our team at all. We’ve been pretty strong there in the third. We’ll take the two points, find a way to win. You don’t want to give up two goals the way we did, but you find that desperation in all these games.”
The victory marks the 750th career win for Maurice.
Connor has four two-goal games already this season, three of them against the Habs, and now leads the team in goals with 16.
“Overall, pretty good game,” Connor said. “I think we definitely let off the gas in the third period, and could be a function of they’re down 3-1, and they’re pushing. They got the D’s (defencemen) up, pinching on everything. I think that’s an area we can work on as a team. We’re going to have leads coming down here the stretch that we got to work on and get better.”
The Jets scored in the overtime period just moments after Connor Hellebuyck made a game-saving stop at the other end of the ice.
“That’s 3-on-3 right there,” Ehlers said. “You get a big chance one way that usually ends up either in the net or it’s going the other way for a big chance. So, luckily today it went the right way for us.”
Despite scoring the overtime winner, while also adding one assist, Ehlers wasn’t a big fan of his own performance.
“To be honest, I think I played like s–t today,” said Ehlers. “My linemates were playing a really good game.”
The Jets are now 4-2 in their six meetings with the Canadiens so far this season.
The Jets flipped the script on the Canadiens just 48 hours after Montreal scored three goals directly off Jets’ giveaways. The Jets first three goals on Wednesday were all scored off Canadiens turnovers.
Blake Wheeler opened the scoring on the game’s first shift, striking just 50 seconds into the contest for his first goal in his last seven games.
Connor tucked a rebound into a wide open net later in the first to give the Jets a two-goal advantage.
The Canadiens got on the scoreboard less than two minutes into the second period as Phillip Danault fired a shot high blocker side on Hellebuyck.
Before the end of the middle stanza, Connor cleaned up another rebound to restore the Jets’ two goal lead.
The Habs dominated the third period as they outshot Winnipeg 17-10 with Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli scoring third period goals to force overtime to gain a single point.
But in the first minute of overtime Ehlers raced in on the odd man rush and beat Carey Price for the game winner.
Hellebuyck finished with 33 stops, while Price made 26 saves at the other end.
The Jets recalled goalie Eric Comrie and defenceman Ville Heinola to their taxi squad from the Manitoba Moose earlier in the day.
The moves came after the Ottawa Senators claimed goaltender Anton Forsberg off waivers from the Jets.
After the game, the Jets flew straight to Edmonton where they’ll face the Oilers on Thursday. The pregame show begins on 680 CJOB at 6 p.m., with puck drop shortly after 8 p.m.
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