Morrissey’s second OT winner of the week lifts Jets past Stars in wild finish

Have you blown a late lead? Did you just give up multiple goals to a team that pulled their goalie? Looking to regroup heading into overtime?

Josh Morrissey is just the guy you need to save the day.

For the second time in the last three games, the Winnipeg Jets collapsed late in the third period before Morrissey scored the overtime winner, this time in a wild 5-4 win in Dallas on Friday night.

This game had everything and even a little controversy.

The Jets appeared to be well on their way to victory, leading by two goals with just over two minutes left. But the Stars pulled within one, before scoring a controversial game-tying goal with just 20 seconds to play.

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck was slammed into the goal post causing him to lose his mask. And with Hellebuyck lying stretched out on the ice, Jason Robertson scored into the vacated net.

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The goal stood up after a review due to Morrissey hitting Jamie Benn into Hellebuyck to cause the mask to come off.

“Somebody is going to have to explain to me the difference between their goalie losing his goalie pad and a whistle, and our goalie being flat down with no mask on, and no whistle,” said Jets head coach Rick Bowness. “Somebody has got to explain that to me.

“The explanation was – our guy caused it to happen, but regardless our goalie is down on his stomach with no mask. Listen, I’m as confused as anybody.”

The Jets eventually won the game on a Morrissey breakaway just 34 seconds into the extra frame. And going through all this just a few days earlier certainly didn’t hurt.

“We’ve done it before in such a recent period,” said Morrissey. “What are you going to do at that point? You gotta kinda pull your lip off the ice and get skating again. So, no time to be upset.”

Morrissey has three goals in the last three games.

“I love him,” Bowness said. “Did you see him skate there at the end ? He was flat out flying. He’s just been great for us all year. You get him into a foot race and look out.”

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Dallas picked up at least a point for the seventh straight game, but the Jets moved within three points of the division leading Stars.

“That was a great effort tonight,” said Bowness. “It really was. I’m very proud of the way they played. They should be proud of the way they bounced back.”

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The Jets wasted no time in getting on the board as Cole Perfetti took a pass in stride from Blake Wheeler and deked out Jake Oettinger for the opening goal just 92 seconds into the game.

But Dallas had the answer, and quick. Benn led a Stars rush into the Winnipeg end and snapped a shot off the pad of Connor Hellebuyck, which ricocheted right to the stick of Wyatt Johnston for a tap-in equalizer 26 seconds after Perfetti’s goal.

Winnipeg would regain the lead less than four minutes later after Dallas mishandled a Jets dump in. The puck bounced off the end boards to Adam Lowry who fed Jansen Harkins for his first of the season.

Once again, though, the lead was short-lived. With Dallas on the power play, Benn banged home a loose puck for his 10th of the season at the 8:27 mark of the first. Jason Robertson picked up an assist on the goal, extending his point streak to a franchise-record 14 games.

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After the chaotic start, the teams stiffened up defensively until the Jets third line cashed in for a second time in the middle frame.

A point shot from Dylan DeMelo was redirected by Axel Jonsson-Fjallby right to the stick of Lowry, who slid it into a yawning net to restore Winnipeg’s one-goal lead just over eight minutes into the second.

For a brief moment, Dallas thought they had again tied the game. The Stars dumped the puck into Winnipeg’s end and the Jets thought it hit the netting out of play, so they stopped playing. But there was no whistle, so Robertson took the puck and put it into the net.

Winnipeg challenged the goal and officials quickly realized on review that the whistle should have been blown, so the goal was called off.

The Jets stayed in charge into the third and looked like they’d put the game on ice when Kyle Connor redirected a pass from Pierre-Luc Dubois past Oettinger with less than nine minutes to go.

But Jets fans remember what happened on Monday against Carolina. Winnipeg was cruising along with a three-goal lead, but the Hurricanes scored thrice with their net empty to send it to overtime.

A sense of deja vu began setting in when, with Oettinger on the bench, Robertson beat Hellebuyck through a screen to make it 4-3 with 2:12 to go.

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Surely it wouldn’t happen again, would it?

It did, but not without great controversy.

With less than 30 seconds left, Benn bumped into Hellebuyck at the side of the Jets net, knocking Hellebuyck’s mask off. But the refs did not blow the whistle as the Winnipeg goalie lay facedown on the ice.

Instead, officials let the play continue. The puck found its way to the stick of Robertson who fired it into an empty net, and it seemed impossible that the goal would not be overturned after replay.

But the situation room deemed that Benn was bumped into the goalie by Morrissey, so the goal was allowed to stand. The Jets were incensed but had to quickly regroup for the OT session.

After Dallas started the extra frame with possession, Wheeler won the puck in the corner in the Winnipeg end and hit a streaking Morrissey up the ice, blowing past a tired Robertson and beating Oettinger five-hole on a clean breakaway for his second OT winner in the last three games.

Hellebuyck made 37 saves in the win as Winnipeg improves to 6-1 in overtime this season. Oettinger turned aside 23 shots in the loss.

READ MORE: Jets carved by Wild again on eve of US Thanksgiving

Winnipeg wraps up this three-game road trip Sunday in Chicago. Pregame coverage on 680 CJOB starts at 4 p.m. with the puck dropping just after 6 p.m.

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