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Connor scores overtime winner to help Jets even series with Blues

Jets earn first Stanley Cup Playoffs overtime win in franchise history

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

ST. LOUIS, Missouri - The Winnipeg Jets had one goal in mind when they came to St. Louis for Game 3 and 4 against the Blues.

Down 2-0 in the best-of-seven, they wanted to do everything in their power to get back on even footing.

Mission accomplished.

The Jets followed up a 6-3 win in Game 3 with the franchise's first overtime victory in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Kyle Connor was the hero, scoring 6:02 into the extra frame to earn a 2-1 victory.

Video: WPG@STL, Gm4: Connor wins it in OT for Jets

"It's a sense of relief and a lot of excitement, honestly. There is nothing better than celebrating with teammates all coming in there," said Connor.

"We kept with it. They had some pushes. We had some good zone time. We stuck with it and fought the whole game."

Mark Scheifele scored the Jets goal in regulation. It came with 12:27 to go in the final period after Vladimir Tarasenko opened the scoring just 30 seconds into the third.

In total, the line of Scheifele, Connor, and Blake Wheeler combined for six points.

"We're fired up," Wheeler said after the game.

"(The Blues) are obviously playing awesome. We're playing well. It's a hell of a series."

The game-winner was Connor's third goal of the series and all began when Dustin Byfuglien won a puck battle with Brayden Schenn and fed the puck up ice to Wheeler.

"First period I might have him. These legs are a little bit worn out at the end of the game," Wheeler said with a grin. "I knew I had numbers coming in behind me. I just stopped up and it's a great job by those two. Scheif gets a heck of a shot, stays with it, and the vision to find KC there - what can you say, what a play."

Video: WPG@STL, Gm4: Scheifele tips in Connor's feed

Despite the fact all the offence came in the third period and overtime, there were no shortage of offensive chances in the opening 40 minutes.

Whether it was the Blues hitting a post off a deflection, or Brandon Tanev's breakaway attempt grazing the crossbar and going out of play, the teams went chance for chance for two periods.

While Scheifele's line was the one to light the lamp, the trio of Tanev, Adam Lowry, and Andrew Copp generated nine scoring chances and only had one against.

All night, they were a handful for St. Louis.

"Anytime you can spend a lot of time in the other team's end, create some chances, maybe hem in some of their better players and force them to defend for an entire shift - it bodes well for us," said Lowry, adding that getting fresh legs on the ice while sustaining that offensive zone pressure was something the Jets discussed prior to the game.

"We try to play that cycle game," Lowry said of his line. "We make some good reads. Copper and (Tanev) made some real good plays tonight. We had a lot of good chances. If we continue on that path, one will go in for us."

Video: POSTGAME | Mark Scheifele

A late penalty to Mathieu Perreault near the end of the second period put the Blues on the power play to start the third. The home side got set up in the Winnipeg end, worked the puck to Vladimir Tarasenko in the left circle and he fired a wrist shot past a screened Connor Hellebuyck.

It was the third straight game that the St. Louis power play had converted.

"I liked our penalty kill too on the one they scored on," said head coach Paul Maurice. "He's a special player and he's going to beat you like that sometimes. I've liked our penalty kill. It's a little bit like our 5-on-5 game. When we have an opportunity to be aggressive we're picking the right time to do that. When we're not, we're patient."

The Jets stayed on the attack. Scheifele and Connor came down the ice on a 2-on-1, Scheifele kept but was stopped by the glove of Binnington.

Undeterred, the duo would connect again just minutes later. Wheeler avoided a check in the neutral zone which allowed Connor to fly down the left wing. Scheifele drove the middle and Connor slipped a perfect pass that Scheifele deflected into the top corner.

"Our game got better as the game went on," said Scheifele. "We knew they were going to push. They pushed all night. They played solid and they made us work for every inch. Binnington made a ton of saves and so did our goalie. It was a battle until the end and a pretty fun game to play in."

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

Winnipeg killed off a late penalty to get the game into overtime. The lack of overtime experience - the majority of the players on the roster had only experienced two overtime games in the postseason - didn't affect the excitement level in the room during the intermission.

"We don't have a lot of experience in that sense, but it's always important that you keep your game the same as it was in the first three periods," said Lowry. "I think we did that. We were real direct. That goal, it's a great play in the neutral zone and you put pucks to the net, and good things happen."

That excitement showed on the ice, as the Jets outshot the Blues 5-1, with the fifth shot ending the game thanks to Connor shovelling home a loose puck in the crease.

"We went out there to win it, not to hold back, sit back, and try to defend them," said Connor.

"We were comfortable in that game."

Next up, the Jets prepare for Game 5 at Bell MTS Place on Thursday.

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