Winnipeg Jets blow third period lead, lose to Minnesota in overtime

The Winnipeg Jets thought they had their first win sealed.

With less than two minutes to go and nursing a one-goal lead, Mark Scheifele scored into an empty net to give the Jets what they thought was the insurance marker.

But the Wild challenged and the goal was overturned because the play was offside, and Minnesota would find the equalizer moments later and win it on an overtime power play to stun the Jets 6-5 for the comeback win in a chaotic game in St. Paul Tuesday night.

Trailing 5-3, the Wild quickly erased a two-goal third period deficit in the final five minutes. Joel Eriksson Ek tied the game with just 59 seconds left and also got the winner on a three-on-one in OT to give him the hat trick.

Kyle Connor scored two goals and added an assist, but was also the player who was offside on the disallowed empty net goal.

“I thought I was good,” said Connor. “Obviously, I looked at it too. I was offsides there. Just one of those things, a little attention to detail by me. Just stay onside. It’s as easy as that and win a game.”

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The Jets surrendered four different leads in a see-saw back-and-forth affair.

“They got some lucky bounces and they ended up in our net,” said Scheifele. “But we played hard. It was a hard-fought game. It was a rivalry game, us against Minnesota. It was hard fought, fun hockey. Too bad it ended the way it did.”

Winnipeg was outshot in each of the three periods and ended up allowing 44 shots on goal.

“I liked it ’til we were offside with the empty net,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “That’s a hard fought, good battle game on the road. I liked big chunks of it, didn’t like that last minute and a half.

“You want to win that game so you can take all the good out of it and build from it. We’ll try to take some of it. We got to clean up some things obviously.

“I thought this was the first game this year that’s had NHL intensity in it. The building was right, the game was hard, lots of physicality, lots of good chances at both ends. But both teams were playing hard for their chances.”

Andrew Copp was elevated to the top line after captain Blake Wheeler tested positive for COVID-19. Copp scored once and finished with a three-point night.

The Jets power play finally connected after going 0-for-8 in the first two games. The Jets scored twice on the man advantage against the Wild and finished the night 2-for-6 with the extra skater.

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The game started off well for the Jets as Connor scored twice in the first period but the Wild responded after each marker to make it 2-2 after one.

Josh Morrissey got the Jets’ first power play goal of the season in the second to give Winnipeg the lead for a third time, but for a third time the Wild had an answer as Mats Zuccarello was credited for his second of the game.

Pierre-Luc Dubois restored the lead for the Jets with a power play goal early in the third before Copp, carried the puck up the ice on a two-on-one, roofing it over the shoulder of Cam Talbot to make it 5-3.

But the Wild were not done. Marcus Foligno scored Minnesota’s second power play marker of the game with just under five minutes to go to cut the lead to one.

It seemed the Jets had iced the game with an empty-netter from Scheifele in the final moments, but the Wild challenged for offside and the goal was disallowed because Connor was just barely over the blue line before the puck.

The Wild would make good on their second chance to tie it up as Eriksson-Ek batted it out of mid-air and through the legs of Connor Hellebuyck, who had no chance on the play.

In overtime, the teams traded chances before Karill Kaprizov drew a penalty on Morrissey, but it was Winnipeg who had a great chance to end it on a shorthanded two-on-one. Adam Lowry made a great pass to Logan Stanley, but he was denied.

That sprung the Wild back the other way on a three-on-one, with Eriksson Ek tapping in the winner past Hellebuyck, who did not get much help on this night, making 38 saves as the Jets picked up their first point of the season. Talbot stopped 25 shots in the win.

The penalty kill continues to be a problem for the Jets, who allowed three power play goals to the Wild and have now surrendered seven in three games this season.

The Jets dressed an extra defenceman, going with seven blueliners and 11 forwards as Nathan Beaulieu made his season debut. Evgeny Svechnikov returned to the lineup after being scratched on Saturday, while rookie Cole Perfetti sat out for the first time this season.

Winnipeg will now return to Canada for their home opener Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks.

Pregame show begins on 680 CJOB at 5 p.m., with the puck dropping just after 7 p.m.

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