Connor's OT snipe powers Winnipeg Jets past Canadiens

What better way to snap a scoring drought than by scoring the game-winning goal in overtime.

Kyle Connor’s tally 1:45 into extra time lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-2 win over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night as the Jets extended their point streak to five games.

It was just Connor’s second of goal of the campaign, and the first since an empty-netter in the season opener.

“Definitely a relief,” said Connor. “I could of had a bunch tonight. It’s good to see it go in. The whole team – we just stuck with it throughout the game. We take a late penalty, kill that off, a huge kill, and I thought the third period we really started to push too.”

Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois each had a goal and an assist in the victory, while Blake Wheeler notched their other marker.

Connor’s OT goal ended an eight-game slump for the Jets top goal scorer from last season as he finally got the monkey off his back.

“We needed that guy to score,” said forward Blake Wheeler. “He’s had incredible opportunities every game. He’s just so dynamic, creates so much out there for us. And for guys like him, when it rains, it pours. So, hopefully it’s the start of something big for him.”

Connor hit the post earlier in the game and had several glorious scoring chances. He finished the night with a game-high six shots on goal.

“There’s perseverance – just stay with it,” said head coach Rick Bowness who was coaching just his second game of the season after recovering from COVID-19. “The chances – they’re grade A’s. And there’s times you want the right guy to get the puck at the right time, in the right spot, and it was coming to him a lot tonight. It just wasn’t going in, and then you couldn’t pick a better time to score.”

It was the third straight game the Jets went to overtime.

Winnipeg has won seven of their last eight home games dating back to last season.

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Nick Suzuki opened the scoring for the visitors, burning Dylan DeMelo on a net drive before tucking it top-shelf past Connor Hellebuyck.

Late in the first, Pierre-Luc Dubois evened the score, ripping a wrister past Sam Montembeault on the power play.

Montreal regained the lead in the second when the puck deflected right to the stick of Kirby Dach in front of the net, and the 21-year-old made no mistake at the 4:54 mark.

But only 41 seconds later, Wheeler banged home a rebound in the crease to tie the game. Montreal challenged the goal for goaltender interference but the call on the ice was confirmed, putting the Jets on a power play that proved to be fruitless as they went 1-for-5 with the man advantage in the first 40 minutes.

The Jets controlled the play for most of the third period, outshooting the Habs 11-4 but neither side could find the back of the net, so overtime was needed.

Winnipeg held possession for most of the extra frame until Connor took a nice setup from Mark Scheifele and ripped it past Montembeault for the winner.

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Hellebuyck made 20 saves in the win while Montembeault turned aside 33 shots in defeat.

Dominic Toninato made his season debut on the fourth line with Morgan Barron out of the lineup. Barron is scheduled for surgery on his injured wrist on Friday and is expected to miss the next four to five weeks.

Brandon’s Joel Edmundson appeared in his first game of the season for the Canadiens, while former Jet Johnathan Kovacevic played in his first game back in Winnipeg since being claimed off waivers at the end of training camp.

Winnipeg improves to 6-3-1 on the season and will host Chicago Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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