Connor scores late to give Jets 4-3 win over Blue Jackets
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Blake Wheeler knows the Winnipeg Jets don’t panic when they fall behind.
That mindset paid off again Thursday night when Kyle Connor scored with 1:14 remaining to give the Jets a 4-3 victory over the slumping Columbus Blue Jackets.
“We’ve done it enough this year that we have a lot of confidence that we know we don’t have to change our game,” Wheeler said. “We can continue to play the same way for 60 minutes.
“We’re going to generate enough chances. It’s just a matter of finishing them. Some nights they’re going to go in, and some nights they’re not.”
Winnipeg won its sixth consecutive home game and handed the Blue Jackets their four straight loss overall. The Jets also came from behind to beat the Bruins 4-3 in a shootout at Boston on Tuesday.
Mark Scheifele scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season for the Jets, with Wheeler getting his 54th assist. Mason Appleton and Jack Roslovic also scored, and Jacob Trouba had two assists.
Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves in the opener of a three-game homestand.
Artemi Panarin got his 20th goal and added an assist for Columbus. Josh Anderson had a power-play goal and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored. Seth Jones contributed a pair of assists.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 22 shots for the Blue Jackets.
“It (stinks) to lose that way in the last minute,” forward Nick Foligno said. “Guys played really hard, played to our identity tonight and (it) just doesn’t sit well with me getting scored on late like that.”
Connor was coming off a change when he took a pass from Bryan Little and beat Bobrovsky over his stick.
“The puck got rimmed down low to Bryan and he made an incredible pass on his backhand there and found me in the slot,” Connor said. “Just tried to get it off quick.”
Columbus leading scorer Cam Atkinson was hit in the face by a puck during warmups and replaced by Mark Letestu. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella had no update after the game.
Despite the loss, Tortorella was satisfied with his team’s performance.
“I thought our guys rallied together and played a good game,” he said.
The Blue Jackets led 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 after two, but Roslovic tied it at 8:47 of the third when his hit shot went into the corner with 17 seconds left on a Winnipeg power play.
Winnipeg killed off a penalty with six minutes left and then Bobrovsky made a big save on Mathieu Perreault.
Wheeler helped open the scoring after a Columbus turnover when he set up Scheifele for a one-timer that beat Bobrovsky at 4:34 of the first.
Ryan Murray sent the puck between the skates of a Winnipeg defender right to Panarin’s stick and he fired it over Hellebuyck’s glove to tie it at 8:52. Panarin has a three-game point streak with a pair of goals and three assists.
Anderson got the go-ahead goal on a power play when Panarin found him in the slot at 13:30.
Appleton made it 2-all when his backhand hit Bobrovsky and trickled under the netminder at 13:21, but 57 seconds later Bjorkstrand regained the lead for the Blue Jackets.
Blue Jackets: Home against St. Louis on Saturday.
Jets: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.