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game recap

Jets get past Sabres, end skid at three

Wheeler goal late in third period sends Buffalo to eighth loss in 12 games

by Heather Engel / NHL.com Correspondent

Wheeler's go-ahead tip-in tally

WPG@BUF: Wheeler buries perfect pass for lead

Josh Morrissey threads a beautiful centering feed through traffic that Blake Wheeler tips past Carter Hutton to take a 2-1 lead late in the 3rd

  • 01:07 •

BUFFALO -- The Winnipeg Jets ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Sunday.

"When you've lost three straight and you're kind of reeling a little bit, you're not necessarily going to come out and blow the doors off a team," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler, who scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period. "These guys are fighting for a playoff spot. We did a good job of staying patient with that game, kind of doing all of the things that we preached before the game, and we got rewarded."

Andrew Copp and Mark Scheifele scored, and Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for Winnipeg (35-18-3). 

 

[WATCH: All Jets vs. Sabres highlights]

 

Jack Eichel scored, and Carter Hutton made 26 saves for Buffalo (27-21-7) in his first start since Feb. 1.

The Sabres, who defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 here on Saturday, failed for the eighth straight time to win consecutive games (0-7-1) and have not won two in a row since Dec. 11 and 13. They are 4-7-1 in their past 12.

"It stinks because of the position we're in," Buffalo coach Phil Housley said. "We need points. It was tough because we win a game [Saturday] and I thought in the past our effort, or just the way we were playing, wasn't indicative of tonight. We came and we charged. It was a good, solid game by us."

Copp scored shorthanded on a breakaway to give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead at 3:01 of the second period. Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin couldn't keep the puck in at the blue line, and Copp scored the Jets' seventh shorthanded goal of the season.

Video: WPG@BUF: Copp beats Hutton's glove for SHG

"I think we needed to get the first one today," Copp said. "It was going to be important in the game. We were definitely focused on our defensive game after the last two (when the Jets allowed five goals in each). We knew it was kind of going to be a low-scoring game. Obviously getting that first one is huge in that type of game. Especially with all the [penalties] that we had."

Eichel tied it 1-1 from the right face-off circle at 12:01, four seconds after a Sabres power play expired. 

Video: WPG@BUF: Eichel snaps heavy wrister past Hellebuyck

The Jets kept the Sabres hemmed in their own end and scored when Wheeler received a pass from Josh Morrissey at the right side of the net for the tap-in to make it 2-1 with 3:55 left in the third.

"It was such a good pass," Wheeler said. "It was one of those if he passes it too fast, I won't be able to see it. It's through a lot of bodies and I'm trying to get by my guy to get my eyes on the puck, and he put the exact right pace on it so all I had to do is touch it."

Scheifele scored into an empty net with seven seconds remaining for the 3-1 final. 

Video: WPG@BUF: Scheifele buries wrister for empty-net goal

"It's a tough one," Sabres forward Kyle Okopso said. "They made a play when it mattered. That's it. I thought we outplayed them for most of the game. They had their chances, but they made a play when it mattered."

 

They said it

"I think [Hellebuyck] was really solid in net again. We just kind of beared down, played really solid defensively and didn't give them a whole lot. And kind of went from there. When things aren't going right and we're not playing as well defensively as we want to, I think that can kind of be our focus, kind of be our calling card. Tight, dig yourself out of holes." -- Jets forward Andrew Copp

 

"I don't know how many times you can take the moral victory anymore. We're 55 games into the year. How many times can we say, 'Oh we played well but we didn't get any points'? Other teams are getting points, moving up the standings and we're not. I think the moral victories are a thing of the past at this point." -- Sabres captain Jack Eichel

 

Need to know

Dahlin's assist on Eichel's goal was his 31st point of the season, tying him with Jim Benning and Doug Bodger for third-most by an NHL defenseman before his 19th birthday. They trail Housley (57) and Bobby Orr (38). ... Eichel's goal was his 43rd even-strength point of the season (14 goals, 29 assists), an NHL career high. He had 42 (22 goals, 20 assists) in 2017-18. … Scheifele, who assisted on Wheeler's goal, has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in nine games against Buffalo. ... Buffalo and Winnipeg split the season series for the first time since the 2013-14 season. The Sabres had won both games in three of the past four seasons

 

What's next

Jets: Host the New York Rangers on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, MSG, NHL.TV) 

Sabres: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

Video: Wheeler scores in 3rd to help Jets defeat Sabres, 3-1

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