Jets rally to beat Golden Knights 4-3 in OT on Connor’s goal
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kyle Connor had another big night in Vegas.
The 22-year-old left wing scored 3:22 into overtime to give the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 comeback victory over the Golden Knights on Saturday.
Connor leads the Jets in scoring against Vegas with 12 points in seven career games. It was his seventh goal versus the Golden Knights, who blew a two-goal lead in the third period for the second time in three nights, including a 5-4 loss to Montreal in overtime Thursday.
The Jets, meanwhile, won both games of a back-to-back set — they withstood 53 shots by San Jose during a 3-2 victory Friday.
“We came out in the third knowing we had something to prove,” said Connor, who also had two assists. “I think it was an incredible comeback and a testament to our team, that kind of character.”
Winnipeg is 4-3-0 against Pacific Division opponents after going 16-6-2 last season. The Jets are 29-10-4 in their past 43 games versus the Pacific Division.
Mathieu Perreault scored two goals and Mark Scheifele added one for Winnipeg. Laurent Brossoit made 23 saves.
Jonathan Marchessault, Max Pacioretty and Nate Schmidt scored for Vegas. Malcolm Subban stopped 35 shots.
The win didn’t come without controversy, though. Scheifele tied the game with a disputed goal, after it appeared Schmidt beat Connor to the end line for an icing call. But when icing was waved off, Connor fed Scheifele for his one-timer past Subban.
“I thought they should have called that,” Subban said. “They called every one before that, so I don’t understand why that wasn’t an icing. It’s tough. You could say whatever, but obviously it was a good shot, a good play, but yeah, initially I thought it was an icing. I think everyone did.”
A heated Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said he wasn’t given an explanation, but clearly believed icing should have been called. Nonetheless, he also wasn’t blaming the referees for the loss.
“They knew they made a mistake, bottom line, so we just moved on,” Gallant said. “There’s tough calls to be made every night. I’m not going to blame the referees for this game. I’m going to blame the way we played the last 25 minutes of the hockey game. If they wouldn’t have scored there, they probably would have scored somewhere else because we didn’t play our game. We backed off, we were too loose. I’m disappointed and I think the call was wrong, but that wasn’t the reason why we lost.”
The Golden Knights exposed what appeared to be a weary Winnipeg team by opening a 3-1 lead after the first period, when they outshot the Jets 10-9.
Perreault gave Winnipeg an early lead with his 200th point as a member of the Jets, but Marchessault’s power-play goal a little more than two minutes later tied it and started a string of three straight goals in less than three minutes.
“I think in those back-to-backs, sometimes the first periods are always the toughest one,” Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said. “Once you get a sweat going and get back into the pace of the game, typically if you get out of that first period, you’re in good shape. That’s the toughest part. Obviously, 3-1 after one isn’t where we wanted to be, but 40 minutes, still a lot of time and obviously we’ve shown the ability to fight back this year.”
Six of Winnipeg’s eight wins have been by one goal, including its past five victories. The six one-goal wins are tied with Edmonton for most in the NHL. Last season, the Jets were 19-7-5 in one-goal games.
“It’s kind of our MO. Just stay with it,” Wheeler added. “A few went against us early, but we just kept it close enough to keep it within striking distance and just try to get that next goal.”
Vegas, which is 8-0-0 when allowing three or fewer goals, dropped to 0-5-2 when giving up four or more.
NOTES: After starter Marc-Andre Fleury took a maintenance day Friday with the flu, according to Gallant, the Golden Knights recalled goalie Garret Sparks on an emergency basis from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. ... Vegas forwards Mark Stone, Cody Glass, Cody Eakin and Ryan Reaves hail from Winnipeg. ... Jets center Adam Lowry sent Vegas wing Alex Tuch to the locker room after a vicious hit to the head. It also resulted in Reaves’ sixth fight (according to hockeyfights.com) since being acquired by Vegas in 2018, as the Golden Knights enforcer took exception to the hit. ... The Jets are 2-4-0 at T-Mobile Arena, including playoff games.
Jets: Open a four-game homestand Tuesday against New Jersey.
Golden Knights: Begin a four-game road trip Tuesday at Columbus.