The Ottawa Senators bounced back from a pair of early goals to score four straight and pull off a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.
Evgenii Dadonov broke a 2-2 deadlock midway through the third period and Brady Tkachuk led the way with a pair of goals as the last place Sens beat the Jets for the second time this season.
“We had a hard time managing the puck physically and mentally,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “They played hard. They played well. They played well enough to beat us. We gave up four breakaways, so you’re not winning that game, or you don’t deserve to. Kinda just leave the rink not looking at our goalie at all. He stopped a bunch of breakaways.
“My job is to keep them sharp, keep them ready, and keep them right. We weren’t there today, so that’s what I’ll think about for two days.”
There were no goals scored in a high-flying second period, but the Jets still surrendered countless odd man rushes, including a couple of breakaways. Although they still outshot the Sens 14-7 in the period.
Connor Hellebuyck made 20 saves in his seventh consecutive start, but two of the goals he’d definitely like to have back.
“I’m a little mad at myself,” said Hellebuyck. “A couple bad mistakes. Not good enough.”
The loss ended both the Jets three-game win streak in the city of Ottawa and their three-game win streak overall.
“It’s always frustrating when you don’t win the game,” forward Kyle Connor said. “But you don’t see too many streaks, four, five, six games, in this league. It’s tough to get on a roll. And every team – you can’t take a night off.”
Finally equipped with a Senators mask, but still donning Jets coloured pads, goalie Anton Forsberg made 24 saves in a winning effort against the team that waived him in March.
Andrew Copp saw his four-game point streak come to a halt.
Kyle Connor opened the scoring for the Jets exactly five minutes into the first period. The forward blasted a one-timer into the top corner past Forsberg on the power-play.
Just three minutes later, Nikolaj Ehlers doubled Winnipeg’s advantage, carrying the puck into the offensive zone and wristing it under the shoulder of Forsberg. Ehlers has scored in each of his last three games.
But Ottawa would quickly find a way back into the contest on a power-play of their own. A Josh Norris shot deflected off Tkachuk and behind Hellebuyck, cutting the Jets lead in half.
Connor Brown would even things up just before the first intermission. A harmless-looking shot from the high slot looked to be saved by Hellebuyck, but ended up bouncing off his glove and into the net. Brown extended his franchise-record goal-scoring streak to eight games.
It was a much quieter second period with neither side able to break the tie. Hellebuyck kept things even for the Jets by stopping a pair of breakaways, while Winnipeg came up empty on a trio of power-plays in the frame. The Jets finished the game 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
Dadonov’s winner would come at the midway mark of the third period on another tough bounce for the Jets goalie. A chipped puck into the Jets zone was mishandled by Hellebuyck and fell to the Ottawa forward, who buried the puck on the backhand.
Tkachuk put the game out of reach with his second of the night late in the third period. During a four-on-four situation, the Ottawa forward found himself all alone in the Jets zone and converted the breakaway effort over the shoulder of Hellebuyck.
Despite the result, the Jets remain in second place in the North Division, one point ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and six points behind Toronto, who lost 4-2 to Montreal on Monday.
Winnipeg will look to avenge the defeat when the two sides go right back at it on Wednesday night in Ottawa. You can listen to the game live on 680 CJOB with Kelly Moore, Paul Edmonds and Jamie Thomas with the pregame show beginning at 4 p.m. and puck drop just after 6 p.m.
Wheeler skating again
Head coach Paul Maurice says Blake Wheeler is back skating this week. The Jets captain hasn’t played since April 5 because of a concussion and is not on the road trip with the club.
“He had a good day yesterday so he’s having another skate today. (If he) feels good tomorrow we’ll just keep pushing that,” said Maurice in his pre-game media availability.
Wheeler has 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 39 games this season.
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