Fans taking in Tuesday night’s clash between Winnipeg and Seattle got to see something that hadn’t happened yet this NHL season: a Jets game that was not decided in 65 minutes.
But fans got to go home happy as the Jets rallied for a 3-2 shootout win over the Kraken to win the season series.
Pierre-Luc Dubois scored the tying goal in the third period before notching the shootout winner to give the Jets a third straight victory to close out the homestand.
The Kraken took the lead on a goal that deflected off two Jets skates, but the Jets gave them a dose of their own medicine when Dubois’ tying goal bounced in off a Kraken defenceman.
“It was a pass,” said Dubois. “I thought somebody was back door, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.”
The Jets spent much of the first period shorthanded while serving six minutes in penalties, but they still ended up outshooting the Kraken in all three periods.
“We played a good game,” said head coach Rick Bowness. “That’s how we want to play in the first and the third. And give them credit for coming back in the second. There’s not much separating these two teams, just look at the standings.
“We took over when we had to take over. We had the breakaway. They got a lucky second goal, right, so you got to live with that. There’s nothing much you can do about that. It goes off two of our skates. You live with that. Good teams find a way to win and we found a way.”
“For the most part there was long stretches where we really didn’t give up a lot of grade A’s,” Jets forward Adam Lowry said. “Obviously, there were a few turnovers and things like that where they were able to generate some things, but I thought we did a real good job on our forecheck, not getting caught too low or too aggressive to turns some pucks over, and really frustrate them through the neutral zone.”
Lowry finished the game with five blocked shots and received a round of applause from the home crowd after two key blocks without a stick while shorthanded in the first period.
“It’s a little awkward to be honest,” Lowry said. “Going to the bench – no stick and stuff. But it feels good to know they recognize not only the goals, or the hits, or things like that, but just the effort.”
Goalie David Rittich got thrust into the starting role with Connor Hellebuyck feeling under the weather. He stopped 27 of 29 shots as well as both shooters in the shootout.
“He was not supposed to start tonight,” said Bowness. “He found out this morning that he was going to start. Helle shows up under the weather, so that’s the job of the backup goalie is to be ready when you’re called on like he was today. And then give us a real good chance to win, which he’s done.”
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Winnipeg got out of the gates strong, outshooting the Kraken 10-2 in the first half of the opening frame.
But after Dylan DeMelo was called for goaltender interference just past the midway point of the period, Seattle began to wake up.
A couple minutes after the Jets managed to kill off the penalty, Morgan Barron was called for a four-minute high-sticking penalty, but again the NHL’s second-best penalty killing unit killed it off.
Winnipeg held a 12-11 advantage on the shot counter through 20 goalless minutes.
The Jets began the second much like they did the first, dominating possession while earning their first power play chance of the night.
They didn’t score on it but just past the seven-minute mark of the period, the Jets drew first blood thanks to a bad Seattle turnover.
The Kraken cleanly won a faceoff in their own end with Jamie Oleksiak taking the puck to the corner below the Seattle goal line. The defenceman threw a no-look pass behind his own net right to Nikolaj Ehlers, who fed Blake Wheeler in front. Wheeler then deked out Philipp Grubauer to get the Jets on the board first.
After a second unsuccessful Winnipeg power play, the Jets held a 10-1 advantage in shots in the second, but it would only take one more from Seattle to tie the game.
Strathclair, Manitoba’s Morgan Geekie carried the puck along the boards into the Winnipeg end and hit a cutting John Hayden with a great pass that Hayden redirected past Rittich to level the score at the 13:20 mark of the second.
On the play, Hayden was able to outskate a back-checking Ehlers to win the race to the front of the Jets’ net.
The Kraken were given a fourth chance with the man advantage late in the second when Dubois took an undisciplined interference penalty and Seattle took advantage, albeit through a total fluke.
With the Kraken set up in the Winnipeg end, Jared McCann sent a seemingly harmless shot towards the Jets net that bounced off DeMelo and then the skate of Mason Appleton before skittering past Rittich to make it 2-1 with just 26 seconds left in the second.
Seattle nearly added to their lead early in the third when Jordan Eberle was sprung on a partial break but he was denied by Rittich, and a few minutes later another great chance went by the wayside when Will Borgen clanked a wrister from the slot off the post.
That proved consequential as the Jets evened the score just shy of the midway point as the hockey gods decided that Winnipeg deserved a break.
After a shot from Josh Morrissey was stopped by Grubauer, Dubois took a whack at the puck, careening it off the shin pad of Vince Dunn and into the net. Morrissey picked up his 45th assist of the season on the goal, setting a new single-season franchise record for assists by a defenceman.
Winnipeg had a glorious chance to take the lead with just over five minutes left when Appleton was sent in alone on Grubauer but he hit the post. A power play late in the third did not bear any fruit for the Jets, so the game needed overtime.
Wheeler had the best opportunity in overtime when he took a feed from Mark Scheifele on a 2-on-1 but he just missed tucking it past Grubauer, sending the game to a shootout, Winnipeg’s first of the season.
Scheifele scored on Winnipeg’s first attempt before Ryan Donato missed the net for Seattle. Kyle Connor was then denied, as was Jordan Eberle.
That gave Dubois a chance to end it and he did, whipping a shot past Grubauer to give Winnipeg its third straight victory and just its third this season when trailing after two periods.
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Grubauer turned aside 38 shots in the loss.
Winnipeg will now hit the road for a four-game Eastern Conference road trip starting Thursday in Columbus. Pregame coverage on 680 CJOB begins at 4 p.m. with the puck dropping just after 6 p.m.
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