Connor lifts Jets in OT; Laine leaves with lower-body injury
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice used a joke to ease any panic regarding an injury to Patrik Laine.
Kyle Connor scored his second goal of the game 1:37 into overtime to lift Winnipeg over the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Tuesday night despite losing Laine to a lower-body injury.
Laine was helped down the tunnel to the dressing room about a minute and half into the second period. He wasn’t putting any weight on his left foot after blocking a shot by Kings defenseman Alec Martinez that hit him in the lower leg.
When asked if the sniper took the shot above his skate, Maurice’s response drew chuckles.
“It’s a concussion,” he deadpanned.
“We think he’s going to be fine,” Maurice added. “We don’t think it’s anything long-term.”
The injury halted the forward’s 15-game point streak (18 goals, eight assists). That was the longest active streak in the NHL and a record for a teenager. Laine had also entered the game tied for the league goal-scoring lead with Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin, but the Capitals star got his 44th of the season and two assists in a 4-3 win over Dallas.
“We’ll see how it comes in but we’ve already had him looked at in a couple of different ways,” Maurice said. “There’s nothing sinister.”
Connor fired the winner past goalie Jack Campbell to help the Jets set a franchise record for wins at 44 (44-19-10). Winnipeg had 43 wins in 2014-15, and the Atlanta Thrashers hit the same mark in 2006-07 before the franchise relocated in 2011.
Connor scored his 26th goal of the season late in the second. It was Winnipeg’s third straight victory.
Dustin Brown scored his 23rd goal of the season for the Kings, who were coming off a 4-3 overtime win against Minnesota on Monday.
“There’s obviously still room in a bunch of areas we can improve on and play better, but at the end of the day we’ll take the point,” said Anze Kopitar, who became the first Kings center to reach 82 points since Wayne Gretzky in 1993.
The game featured a battle between backup goalies, each making their third career start.
Rookie Eric Comrie stopped 16 shots for the Jets for his second career win. He had one start last season (a victory) and picked up a loss against Florida in December.
Campbell made 36 saves for the Kings. The 26-year-old was a first-round pick of Dallas in 2010 (11th overall) and joined the Kings in 2016. His only win in six career games was last month in Las Vegas.
Brown and Kopitar played tic-tac-toe on a 2-on-1 to score the game’s first goal at 8:42 of the second. The back-and-forth ended when Brown got the pass and easily flipped it into the open side behind Comrie.
Winnipeg then had two power plays but couldn’t beat Campbell despite some sustained pressure. Kings forward Jeff Carter missed an open part of the net while his team was short-handed.
Connor tied it at 17:06 when he deflected Mark Scheifele’s pass. Winnipeg held a 23-15 advantage in shots on goal after the middle frame.
NOTES: Winnipeg won the season series 2-1.
Kings: Visit Colorado on Thursday night.
Jets: Host Anaheim on Friday night.
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