Kyle Connor didn’t skip a beat: Recap of Winnipeg Jets vs. New York Islanders

Photo credit:© Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
By Goose
5 months ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL! The night Kyle Connor returned from his first major should go down in the history books. Connor returned to action after missing five weeks and two days due to a knee-on-knee hit from Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Strome, and it didn’t look like Kyle Connor had missed a single moment of hockey.
The Winnipeg Jets as a whole looked like they were scrambling through chunks of the game last night, but as Rick Bowness and players said during the post-game pressers, “Good teams find a way to win.”
Considering the Jets were coming off a 2-0 shutout loss, dealing with illnesses, mid-season bumps and bruises, and the fact they came out of eight games in 15 nights, this team demonstrated they are a true contender. Last season, when the team was about to fall off, they might have just accepted they were going to lose this one. With no Mark Scheifele in the lineup, and the team still on top of the division, they could have taken it easy, but they dug deep and found a way to beat a team that was starving for a win.
Connor Hellebuyck would put on a bit of a show for the Islanders, picking up his first win against them in four games, allowing only two goals on 37 shots.
The first goal of the game came halfway through the first period. Connor didn’t pick up a point, but he was instrumental to the goal. He executed the vintage Connor move of going down the boards and then cutting back up, making a beautiful pass to Josh Morrissey. Morrissey shot, Adam Lowry deflected, and Gabriel Vilardi got the final touch to make it 1-0 for the Jets.
The New York Islanders wouldn’t go into the first intermission quietly. They took advantage of a Dylan DeMelo tripping call. Although it wasn’t a power-play goal for the Islanders, it came just as DeMelo got out of the box. Anders Lee hit the post, and the Islanders recovered the puck, eventually leading to Lee passing to Sebastian Aho, who passed to defender Mike Riley. Riley made the shot, and Lee screened Hellebuyck, getting the tip, making it 1-1 going into the second.


The Jets only scored once on their five power plays, and it came from Neal Pionk taking full advantage of Ilya Sorokin’s skate blade coming off when a shot hit his skate blade. The puck found its way to Cole Perfetti’s stick and then over to Pionk, where the 4×6 net was wide open for Pionk.
During the intermission Pionk would note he saw the blade behind the net and just had to make the lucky shot.
The Jets weren’t done with scoring in the second period. With two minutes left on the clock, Mason Appleton scored his first goal in 25 games. This goal was a weird one. The fourth line ground deep in the New York zone, DeMelo ended up with the puck and shot. Dominic Toninato picked up the rebound, passed to Appleton, who put the puck on net, and it went in off Sorokin’s pad. Appleton had just one point in his last seven games. This would be the game winner!
Anders Lee and the Islanders pushed back early in the third with a goal in the first 35 seconds of the period. That goal should have physicists perplexed. I don’t know how that puck squeezed in. I still believe that the puck particles went through the pad particles because there was no sunlight getting through Connor Hellebuyck. The most impressive part of that goal was Lee was on the goal line when he did it. I wasn’t even mad; it was a great goal.
Kyle Connor would score his first goal since the injury. It was an empty netter, but much like Wayne Gretzky’s 50th in 39, Connor had to work for it. Connor had to make three back-to-back-to-back defensive plays in his own zone to end up with the puck on his stick. He would go down the ice for the empty net breakaway and close out the game 4-2.

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