Nikolaj Ehlers scores in OT, Jets beat Canadiens 4-3
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Nikolaj Ehlers scored at 55 seconds of overtime to give the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Kyle Connor scored twice, Blake Wheeler connected on the first shot of the game, and Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves. Pierre-Luc Dubois added three assists to help the Jets rebound from a 4-2 loss to Montreal on Monday night in the series opener.
In the extra period, Hellebuyck made a giant save on Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry. Winnipeg came away with the puck and Ehlers streaked down the ice, firing a shot from the top of the hash marks through the legs of Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
“I already said thank you to (Hellebuyck). He saved me a little there,” said Ehlers, who also had an assist in regulation. “But that’s 3-on-3 right there. You get a big chance one way and it either ends up in the net or it’s going the other way for a big chance. Luckily, it went the right way for us tonight.”
Winnipeg has yet to lose two games in a row in regulation this season.
“You get a little bitter, you get a little sour taste if we lose a game and you know the next night that we’re coming out hard,” Connor said.
Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault each had a goal and an assists for the Canadiens, and Tyler Toffoli forced overtime with 1:25 left and goalie Carey Price off for an extra attacker. Price had 26 saves.
The Canadiens remained winless in games beyond regulation this season.
“The games where you’re struggling a little bit, we’ve just got to play smarter,” Gallagher said. “We probably just made some mistakes and if we just simplified our game, gave ourselves some time to get into it, maybe we don’t have to come back from two goals.”
Winnipeg had a 3-1 advantage heading into the final period, but Gallagher cut the lead in half at 5:58 and Toffoli tied it late.
On the tying goal, Toffoli snuck behind the Jets net, accepted a pass from Corey Perry and slammed it in behind Hellebuyck before anyone in a Winnipeg jersey registered his presence.
Jets coach Paul Maurice said his team has traditionally been strong in the third period this season, but didn’t move the puck well in the closing period on Wednesday.
“We’ll take the two points. We found a way to win,” he said. “You don’t like to give up the two goals the way we did. But you find that desperation in all these games.”
Canadiens: Host Vancouver on Friday and Saturday nights.
Jets: At Edmonton on Thursday and Saturday nights.