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Connor gets overtime winner as Jets complete comeback in Vegas

Jets finish road trip with six of a possible eight points

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

LAS VEGAS - Save the best for last' is an old saying, but the Winnipeg Jets seemed to take that to heart in the road trip finale against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Trailing 3-1 after 20 minutes, the Jets scored twice in the third before Kyle Connor took a drop pass from Patrik Laine in overtime and slipped the game-winner through the legs of Vegas goaltender Malcolm Subban.

Comeback complete.

"Patty won the face-off - credit to him, he's not a centre man," said Connor with a grin. "We didn't see much so we just regrouped and got a bunch of speed me and Patty. When he cuts to the middle, everybody knows his shot. It freezes pretty much everybody. 

"I just came from behind and was alone with the goalie and saw five hole."

Video: WPG@VGK: Connor completes Jets' comeback in OT

Connor finished the night with three points, as he assisted on the second of two goals from Mathieu Perreault, with Mark Scheifele adding the other goal in the victory.

Not only did the win move the Jets to 8-7-0 on the season, but they're also 6-1-0 in one-goal games, and a perfect 5-0 when the game goes past 60 minutes of regulation time.

"Just stick with it. A few went against us early and we kept it close enough that we could be within striking distance. We just tried to get that next goal," said Wheeler of the Jets, who are now 4-0 when trailing after 20 minutes this season. "Once we got the next one, just stay with it and try to keep taking our shots and trying to capitalize on opportunity. We got a good break and we buried it."

Just over two minutes in Gabriel Bourque sent a shot from the right-wing boards toward the slot, where =Perreault tipped it the opposite way of goaltender Malcolm Subban's momentum and in for his third of the season.

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

But the push from the Golden Knights (8-5-2) came quickly. They scored three times in a span of 3:39, the first of those coming just 2:32 after Perreault's opening marker.

With Laine off due to a delay of game penalty, Jonathan Marchessault's wrist shot from the right circle beat Laurent Brossoit over the glove to tie the game at one.

Just over two minutes later, Max Pacioretty's wrist shot from the left circle squeezed through Brossoit's body and his left arm, putting Vegas on top, 2-1.

Vegas extended the lead to 3-1 when Nate Schmidt followed up the play at four-on-four then one-timed a pass from William Karlsson past Brossoit's stick side.

"In those back-to-backs, sometimes the first period is the toughest one," said Wheeler. "Once you get a sweat going and you get back into the pace of the game, typically if you can get out of that first period in a back-to-back you're in good shape. Obviously 3-1 after one isn't where we wanted to be. But 40 minutes is still a lot of time. We've shown the ability to fight back this year."

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

It wasn't until the third period that the red light would fire up again - and for the second time that night, it would be off Perreault's stick. On the Jets fifth power play, Perreault's redirection of a Connor pass from the right side beat Subban, pulling the Jets within one with 9:58 to go.

"He had almost the same play last night that we didn't connect on. He's got a real good tip stick. His first goal, whether it's 5-on-5 or 5-on-4, he's coming through the same hole and gets the puck off," Maurice said of Perreault on the power play, which finished one-for-five on the night.

"It's a different look because there is a power play on both sides of the ice. There is a one-timer up top with Morrissey and Scheif. KC isn't afraid to shoot them puck, Blake's not afraid to go to the net front. So I like it. Where it goes, I don't know yet. It was a big goal. We'll let it run for a bit."

Winnipeg found the equalizer 3:15 later. With icing waved off at the last second, Connor slid a backhand from below the goal line in front to Scheifele, who whipped home his fifth of the season to make it 3-3.

"We've had that exact same play go for and against us. It's the motion of the puck too," said Maurice. "They're not going to like it, we love it, oh well."

Video: POSTGAME | Kyle Connor

The Jets had possession for most of the overtime period, outshooting Vegas 4-2. It even looked like Scheifele would get the winner just moments before Connor's goal, but Subban flashed the leather on the Jets' sniper on a similar drop pass play that Connor scored on.

In the end, the Jets finished the road trip that began back at the Heritage Classic with six of a possible eight points.

"It was a really good trip in that it wasn't easy. There was some grind," said Maurice. "The simplicity in our game has to be paramount. We have to get away from thinking we can be overly creative and we don't need to be and get back to speed, real speed and battle.

"I think we're playing a much faster game."

A SPIRITED TILT

Adam Lowry returned to the line-up after a two-game suspension that kept him from playing in the games against Anaheim and San Jose.

He had three hits and two shots on goal, but his second period fight with Ryan Reaves - shortly after a hit on Alex Tuch - is what many of his teammates said gave the bench a boost.

Video: POSTGAME | Adam Lowry

"I respect that. That's his job. That's his role," Lowry said of Reaves. "We were down in the game and I feel like I'd want some guys to answer the bell if they hit one of our guys and they were hurt.

"He let me get the face-off. I had struggled in the face-off circle so I appreciated that."

ICE CHIPS

Tucker Poolman left the game after the first period with an upper-body injury and didn't return.

"We don't really know. I'll give more details later," said Maurice. "He just wasn't feeling particularly well. It's not head related we don't think. He was just off after."

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