Connor Scores in Overtime as Jets Nip Ducks 3-2 to Set Club Points Record

Connor Scores in Overtime as Jets Nip Ducks 3-2 to Set Club Points Record

By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

Kyle Connor
Winnipeg Jets left wing Kyle Connor (81) scores the game winning goal against Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) during overtime NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday, March 23, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG – All Kyle Connor wanted to do was get off a quick shot. He did more than that.

The Jets rookie scored 3:16 into overtime as Winnipeg edged the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 and set a franchise record for points in a season Friday.

It also marked the second straight game the winger scored the overtime winner. Connor had both goals in Winnipeg’s 2-1 victory over Los Angeles Tuesday.

This time he registered his 28th goal of the season against netminder John Gibson, who was a workhorse in stopping 39 shots.

“I put a lot of pucks on net and shoot it, just try to get it off quick,” Connor said. “That was pretty much going through my mind on that rush.

“We put a lot at (Gibson) and it seemed like he was making one save after another. I thought we played a really good game.”

Mark Scheifele assisted on the winner and finished with a goal and two assists. Nikolaj Ehlers also scored. Captain Blake Wheeler picked up a pair of assists as the Jets remained unbeaten on their six-game homestand (4-0-0).

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck only had to make 16 saves in his 38th win of the season.

“He’s gotten better and better as the season’s gone on,” Scheifele said of his linemate Connor. “He goes to the right spots. He battles hard in the corner, he goes to the right areas, he goes to the dirty areas.

“He does everything so well and obviously his knack for scoring is top notch. He’s been really fun to play with this season. It’s exciting to see him grow like that.”

Derek Grant and Nick Ritchie scored for Anaheim (38-24-13), which had its four-game win streak end. The Ducks were playing without captain Ryan Getzlaf after he was scratched with the flu.

“We were very, very fortunate to get out of this game with one point. Simple as that,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “Our goaltender stole us a point here tonight.”

Winnipeg (45-19-10) earned its fourth straight win and reached the 100-point plateau for the first time. The Jets registered 99 points in 2014-15 before being swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Ducks.

Ritchie tied it 2-2 at 10:17 of the third period. He went in alone on Hellebuyck, who squeezed his pads on the shot but the puck dropped under him and went over the goal-line.

“It was a pretty one-sided game. When we look back at how we played, we’ll definitely take that point and move forward and know that we were pretty bad tonight,” Ritchie said.

“We pretty much hung (Gibson) out. He, I don’t know how, but somehow got us that point.”

Scheifele picked up the primary assist on Ehlers’ goal, extending his point streak to three games since returning from an injury that kept him out for five. Wheeler stretched his point streak to five games and has 64 assists.

Winnipeg had sophomore star Patrik Laine in its lineup. He left Tuesday’s game early in the second after blocking a shot with his left foot. The initial prognosis for the soft-tissue bruise was he’d miss Friday’s game and likely Sunday’s but Laine participated in the morning skate and was deemed good to go.

“I think he did really, really good,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said of Laine. “I’m going to fire a couple shots off his ankle tomorrow in practice. It will be my shot, so it won’t really hurt him.”

Veteran Winnipeg defenceman Toby Enstrom left the game with a lower-body injury, but Maurice said he didn’t think it was significant.

Winnipeg hosts the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators on Sunday. Anaheim visits Edmonton the same day.

CP - The Canadian Press

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