The Winnipeg Jets did it again.
The Jets erased another third period deficit to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Thursday at Bell MTS Place.
Trailing by a single goal to start the final frame, Jack Roslovic and Kyle Connor scored third period goals to hand the Jackets a fourth consecutive loss. Connor scored the game winner with just 74 seconds left in regulation as the Jets overcame a third period deficit for the second game in a row.
“I’m coming off a change and the puck got rimmed back down low to Bryan (Little), and yeah, he made an incredible pass on his backhand there,” Connor said. “He found me right in the slot, and I just tried to get it off quick.”
Connor has nine goals in his last 11 games.
Mark Scheifele and Mason Appleton also scored goals for the Jets in the back-and-forth affair.
The win gives the Jets a six-game home win streak. They still haven’t lost at home in 2019, and have now won six of their last eight games overall.
“They definitely gave us a handful at times,” Little said. “It seemed like they were really getting on the forecheck, and we had a tough time breaking the puck out at times. But everything kinda came together. Helly (Connor Hellebuyck) made some big saves when we needed him to, and I thought we played the game the right way.”
The game was basically the Jets’ season in a nutshell as they just kept the game close before coming on strong when the game was on the line in the third period.
“There’s enough firepower in our room, and enough confidence, even on a night where we’re not real sharp with our sticks,” head coach Paul Maurice said.
“We don’t have to open up our game. We have enough experience. They’ve had enough games where they’ve come back and won, and that goes a long way, even back into the playoffs of last year.”
Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for Columbus. Josh Anderson and Oliver Bjorkstrand had the other markers for the Blue Jackets. Seth Jones recorded a pair of assists. It was the first time the Blue Jackets lost on a Thursday as they entered the game 12-0 on Thursdays this season.
Hellebuyck made 28 stops for the Jets as they were outshot 31-26. Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 22 saves for the visitors.
The Blake Wheeler to Scheifele connection hooked up once again to open the scoring. Just over four minutes into the contest, the Jackets couldn’t clear the zone, and Wheeler put it on a tee for Scheifele. He buried the one-timer behind Bobrovsky for his 26th goal of the season.
The Blue Jackets evened the score before the midway point of the first period. Ryan Murray spotted a wide open Panarin in the face-off circle and he beat Hellebuyck. Panarin’s 20th was also assisted by Jones and it was 1-1.
Columbus took their first lead with 6:30 remaining in the opening period. Panarin sent the puck into the slot for Anderson and he lifted it past Hellebuyck. Anderson’s 16th gave the Blue Jackets a one-goal lead after 20 minutes of play. The shots were 11-8 in favour of the Jackets.
The Jets got back on even terms with a little less than seven minutes remaining in the middle period. Appleton drove towards the net and put a backhand on Bobrovsky. Initially it appeared like he had made the save, but the puck trickled between his pads and across the goal line. Appleton’s third career goal was assisted by Andrew Copp and Brendan Lemieux.
But the Blue Jackets took the lead back only 57 seconds later. Bjorkstrand beat Hellebuyck for his eighth goal of the season. Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno had the assists on the go ahead goal.
The back-and-forth contest would continue in the third period. With the Jets on the man advantage, Tyler Myers setup Roslovic at the top of the circle, and Roslovic bulged the mesh for his fourth goal of the season. Jacob Trouba had the secondary assist and once again the contest was deadlocked.
With just 1:14 remaining, Little connected with Connor in the slot and he hammered home the one-timer for the game winning goal. Trouba also had an assist on the go ahead goal.
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Nic Petan and Sami Niku were healthy scratches for the Jets, while Dustin Byfuglien and Nikolaj Ehlers missed the game with injuries.
The Jets continue their three-game homestand on Saturday when they welcome the Anaheim Ducks to Bell MTS Place. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 pm CT.
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