Connor’s winner lifts Jets to 2-1 overtime victory over Nashville

The Winnipeg Jets’ domination of the Central Division continued Thursday night as they knocked off Nashville 2-1 in overtime.

The game opened with a remarkable 7:55 of play without a whistle, though neither side had a legitimate scoring chance.

Just over a minute later, Nashville scored on their first shot of the game. Filip Forsberg wired one past Connor Hellebuyck to give the visitors the lead at 9:04.

But the Jets would draw level thanks to an unlikely source.

After Pierre-Luc Dubois and Roman Josi took roughing penalties to put the teams at 4-on-4, the Jets controlled the puck in Nashville’s end. Kyle Connor hit the post but moments later circled the zone and sent a soft pass towards the net,  landing right on the stick of Dylan DeMelo who was parked in front of the goal.

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The defencemen whacked the loose puck into the net for his first goal in 13 months, dating back to his overtime winner against the LA Kings Nov. 13, 2021. It was also just his ninth career goal in his 422nd regular season game.

Late in the period, Jets defenceman Nate Schmidt was felled by a hit from Tanner Jeannot. He stayed down on the ice for over a minute before he skated to the bench, keeled over in pain and would not return.

On the ensuing faceoff, Jeannot and Adam Lowry dropped the gloves as the Winnipeg faithful cheered heartily.

The Jets came out gunning for the lead in the second, pouring all kinds of shots on Juuse Saros but were unable to beat the Nashville goalie despite a pair of power plays in the period.

Nashville would get their first chance with the man advantage late in the frame when Jansen Harkins clipped Forsberg with a high stick, cutting him on the nose.

But the Preds only managed two shots on goal in almost four minutes before Forsberg took a holding penalty to kill the power play.

Winnipeg held a 29-14 edge in shots on goal heading to the third period, where they continued to put pressure on the Preds as they tried to avoid their first three-game losing skid of the season.

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The Jets got a power play just over five minutes into the third and had the puck in the Nashville end for most of it but could not beat Saros.

Not long after the power play ended, Nashville got one of their own but they too could not take advantage.

The game continued on deep into the third without either team gaining an edge, including a entertaining stretch of 5:24 without a whistle but the teams would need more than 60 minutes to determine a winner.

Josh Morrissey was just inches away from his third OT winner of the season, hitting the crossbar on a breakaway at the end of a long shift.

But just moments later, Connor came off the bench, got the puck from Lowry and fired a shot that squeezed through Saros and trickled over the goal line for his second overtime winner of the season.

With the win, the Jets improve to 11-2 against the Central, 7-1 in games that required overtime, and 8-2 following a loss with six of those wins coming in OT.

Hellebuyck made 25 saves in the win while Saros was much busier, turning aside 39 shots in defeat.

The Jets will now hit the road for a pair of games this weekend, in Vancouver Saturday night and in Seattle on Sunday.


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