Home » The Canadian Press » Jets Edge Kraken 4-3, Clinch Second in Central Division

Jets Edge Kraken 4-3, Clinch Second in Central Division

April 16, 2024 9:40 PM | The Canadian Press


By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG — Nikolaj Ehlers was satisfied the Winnipeg Jets checked an item off their playoff to-do list, even if it wasn’t accomplished in a dominant fashion.

Kyle Connor scored twice and Tyler Toffoli broke a third-period tie to lift the Jets to a key 4-3 victory over the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday.

The win clinched second place in the NHL Central Division for the Jets and home-ice advantage in their first-round playoff series with the Colorado Avalanche.

“Obviously that’s what we wanted to do tonight,” said Ehlers, who had a goal and assist. “Wasn’t beautiful all the way through, but we got it done and that’s what’s important.”

Winnipeg (51-24-6) also stretched its win streak to seven games in front of its eighth sold-out crowd of the season at Canada Life Centre.

Toffoli took a pass from Ehlers during a power play and sent a backhand shot past Seattle goalie Philipp Grubauer with 8:20 remaining in the third period.

The Jets wrap up the regular season on Thursday at home against the Vancouver Canucks.

“Nice to get that out of the way in this game,” Connor said of securing home-ice advantage. “I thought we stuck with it, you know, ups and downs in the game.”

Connor’s pair of markers extended his point streak to eight games, including four goals and eight assists.

“I see him skating really well at both ends of the ice. He really is,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said of Connor. “That tells you that he’s engaged in the game. There have been some great back checks.”

Toffoli had one helper and Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey and Neal Pionk each contributed a pair of assists. Connor Hellebuyck made 20 saves.

Yanni Gourde had a goal and assist and Tomas Tatar and Tye Kartye also scored for the Kraken (33-35-13). Brandon Tanev recorded two assists.

Grubauer stopped 20 shots for Seattle, which lost its fourth game in a row and concludes its playoff-less season Thursday in Minnesota against the Wild.

“Our entire team fought hard tonight,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “Regardless of anything else, we’re in a situation where we’ve dug out of a two-goal deficit, got ourselves back to even.

“We take a careless penalty and that’s the difference in a hockey game like this. We did a heck of a job for the first minute and 50 of the kill, but they found a spot inside and found the game-winner on that.”

Winnipeg led 2-1 after the first period and it was tied 3-3 heading into the third.

Connor scored his team-leading 33rd goal of the season at 10:33 after he flipped a high shot past Grubauer.

Tatar tied it up with 1:22 remaining, but Connor notched his second of the night with 5.8 seconds left on the clock.

Seattle outshot the Jets 8-6 in the opening period.

Ehlers swatted in his own rebound 2:30 into the second period to make it 3-1, but Seattle responded with Gourde’s tip-in goal at 5:11.

Gourde and Kartye then went in alone on Hellebuyck, with Gourde sending the puck across to Kartye for the tying goal with 1:47 left in the period.

“I think it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we’ve got to bring that every night,” Kartye said. “It’s a good team over there and it was a pretty good effort by us.”

Both teams had missed opportunities early in the third, with Seattle unable to get a loose puck and put it into an open side of Winnipeg’s net.

During Winnipeg’s second man advantage of the game, Morrissey’s point shot hit the crossbar, but Toffoli made it 4-3 at 11:40 with his 33rd goal of the season.

The Jets then went on a four-minute power play when Kraken Ryker Evans was dinged for high-sticking.

NOTES

The Jets had veteran forward Nino Niederreiter back on the ice after he missed the past five games because of skate cut that nicked his Achilles tendon. … Winnipeg forward Morgan Barron left the game in the first period and didn’t return because of a lower-body injury. Bowness said he’ll be evaluated more. … Tatar’s goal ended Winnipeg’s shutout streak at 151 minutes 19 seconds.

UP NEXT

Jets: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Kraken: Travel to Minnesota to play the Wild Thursday.

CP - The Canadian Press


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