Their playoff chances looked pretty grim not that long ago, but the Winnipeg Jets are suddenly right back in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference.
The Jets scored twice in the third period and again in overtime to come back to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Sunday to close out the three-game road trip.
The victory, combined with a loss by the Vegas Golden Knights leaves the Jets only four points out of a wild card spot.
“That’s the hockey we should be playing, is making plays” said Jets forward Mark Scheifele. “Making teams try to take it from us, opposed to just always giving it to them, so, I really liked the way we played.”
After trailing by a goal to start the final frame, the Jets scored two markers only 63 seconds apart to take their first lead. With just two minutes left and the goalie pulled the Blues tied the game to send it to an extra period. But Pierre-Luc Dubois scored on a 2-on-1 midway through the overtime period to give the Jets a much-needed extra point.
“I really liked our desperation,” said interim head coach Dave Lowry. “And we played with lots of urgency. We had a purpose and I really felt that even giving up the goal late, we showed a lot of resilience and stayed with our game.”
Kyle Connor had a three point night, including his 37th goal of the season to move him within just a single tally of his career high. He now has goals in each of his last four games.
Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist as the Jets won for the 10th time in their last 12 trips to the Show Me State.
“They’re a tough team to play against at home here,” said Dubois. “So just to go home with the two points is huge. Two wins on this road trip.”
The Jets were trailing 2-1 in the third period when Andrew Copp went down hard after an open ice hit by Oskar Sundqvist in the neutral zone. Copp, who just returned from his fourth career concussion, stayed down on the ice, and was clearly upset as he went to the dressing room, throwing his helmet in disgust. No penalty was called on the play and Copp did not return.
“He’ll be evaluated tomorrow,” Lowry said. “I think anytime you have a player who has a history, you’re gonna have to be extremely cognizant and be safe with him, and that was the decision.
“Just two guys colliding. I thought it looked high, but obviously things happen quick, and they felt that there wasn’t a penalty to be called.”
After getting dinged for both a slashing penalty and a 10-minute misconduct in the first period, Evgeny Svechnikov was benched and didn’t take a single shift the entire second period.
“I liked the rhythm that we had going on the bench at that point in time,” said Lowry. “I talked to Geno after the second period. I told him, just be ready, cause you’re gonna play here in the third, and we needed all the bodies.”
That marks the end of the four-game season series with the Jets going 3-0-1 against the Blues this season.
READ MORE: Rough start to second period sinks Jets on Long Island
It was a very tentative start to the game with just seven shots on goal combined in the first 10 minutes.
The Jets then had a minute of 5-on-3 powerplay time, but they didn’t even record a single shot with the two-man advantage.
St. Louis capitalized on their own powerplay with just 3:12 left in the period. Vladimir Tarasenko made the cross-ice pass, and with a lightning quick release, David Perron fired it past Connor Hellebuyck from the top of the circle for his 17th goal of the campaign.
The Blues had the Jets hemmed in their own zone to close out the frame, but Hellebuyck made two key saves in the period’s final minute to keep it a one-goal game.
Just past the midway mark of the second, Connor flipped the puck into the neutral zone, giving the Jets a 2-on-0. Dubois sent it over to Ehlers and he ripped the one-timer over the glove of Jordan Binnington to tie the game at one goal apiece.
But the Jets surrendered a late goal after turning the puck over at the red line. Tarasenko took the pass, made a couple strides, and beat Hellebuyck for his 20th. The Blues had the lead back with just 27 seconds left in the stanza.
Dubois missed the end of the second and the start of the third after being struck in the face by a puck, but he returned early in the final frame.
Seven minutes into the period there was a scramble around the Blues crease and Scheifele tapped the puck past the fallen Binnington to get the Jets back on even terms.
And just 63 seconds later the Blues coughed up the puck, and soon after, Connor picked the top corner for the go-ahead goal. Two quick strikes gave the Jets their first lead of the night.
But the Blues fought hard for the equalizer and moments after the Blues hit the goal post, former Brandon Wheat King Brayden Schenn scored on a one-timer from the slot to send the game to overtime.
Midway through the extra frame, the Jets raced in on a 2-on-1 and Ehlers set up Dubois for the game winner, returning the favour from his earlier goal.
The Jets will return home after winning two of three on the road trip.
Hellebuyck stopped 28 of 31 shots, while Binnington made 33 saves for St. Louis.
Dubois appeared in his 100th game with the franchise.
Adams Brooks and Ville Heinola were both scratched for the Jets for the third game in a row.
READ MORE: ANALYSIS — Connor adds layers to his game as he leads Jets in more than just scoring
The Jets return home for a short two-game homestand starting with an important tilt against the Golden Knights on Tuesday. The Knights currently hold down the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm at the Canada Life Centre.
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