Jets vs. Sabers – Game Recap – March 30, 2022

BUFFALO, NY — Blake Wheeler scored a goal in regulation and scored the game-winning goal in the shootout, Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves and the Winnipeg Jets rallied to beat the Buffalo Sabers 3-2 on Wednesday night for their third consecutive victory.

Mason Appleton scored the tying goal in regulation time and the Jets earned shootout goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele to win their fifth in six games as they battle for the last wildcard spot in the Conference. the West. The shootout win followed two straight overtime games.

“We just need wins,” Dubois said. ” No matter how. I think we all agree that we can play better. We have to play better. But at the end of the day, we get the two points. And that’s what we need right now.

Winnipeg began a back-to-back road trip without leading scorer Kyle Connor and defenseman Nate Schmidt, after the two were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 list earlier Wednesday. Every player on the Jets’ roster has missed time due to virus protocols this season.

“That’s kind of the story of our year, in terms of COVID and how it’s affected our team,” Wheeler said. “Never easy to lose two guys, especially two guys of this caliber. So it was definitely a good night for the guys to step in.

Wheeler’s game-clinching shootout goal was the sixth of his career.

“I don’t really plan it before I go,” he said. “You just have to see where the goalkeeper is, to feel it a little. »

Zemgus Girgensons scored twice and Kyle Okposo had two assists for the Sabers, who have one point in seven straight games, their longest streak in the last three seasons.

“We generated a lot of chances,” Girgensons said. “Sometimes goalkeepers make big saves. Especially in overtime there we had a golden opportunity and the goalkeeper just did it for them.

Hellebuyck stopped six shots in overtime as the Jets imposed a two-minute penalty on Dubois, who had hit the post in the opening seconds of overtime. Hellebuyck made a shootout save.

“I felt Hellebuyck was very good for them,” Sabers coach Don Granato said. “We could have had some separation. There wasn’t, and that’s to his credit.

The Jets tied the game twice in the second period on goals from Wheeler and Appleton.

Wheeler scored his 11th at 4:13 of a second after Dubois faked Anderson out of his skates and slid a backhand in front of the net.

Nikolaj Ehlers’ cross pass on the run put Appleton in the right circle with 21 seconds left in the period. It was Appleton’s seventh goal of the season, and his first in five games since being bought out in a trade with the Seattle Kraken, who selected him on the Jets’ roster in the expansion draft. July.

Craig Anderson made 25 saves for the Sabers.

Girgensons gave the Sabers a 2-1 lead 8:24 into the second period, catching the rebound from Henri Jokiharju’s shot for his 10th goal.

The Sabers had a 13-5 shots on goal lead in the first period and took the lead on Girgensons’ goal with 5:21 left in the period. After having his shot blocked by Scheifele, Girgensons pounced on the loose puck in the high notch and sent it past Hellebuyck.

The Jets didn’t manage a shot until midway through the first period, but nearly scored shortly after when Appleton deflected one off the post.

“That’s usually not the winning formula,” Hellebuyck said. “But this team is resilient, and we found a way.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Jets: Connor and Schmidt will miss at least two more games and stay in the United States all weekend after testing positive Wednesday at Buffalo. The NHL suspended testing for asymptomatic players in late January, but the Jets had to be screened before flying to Canada after the game. Connor ranks fifth in the NHL with 41 goals, and Schmidt’s 31 points are the most among Winnipeg defensemen.

Sabers: Rookie D Mattias Samuelsson has been scratched with an undisclosed injury and is day to day. … Dr. John Hayden resumed skating with the team on Wednesday before missing his fifth game since entering the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

FOLLOWING

Jets: In Toronto on Thursday.

Sabers: Host Nashville on Friday after the banner-raising ceremony for broadcaster Rick Jeanneret, who is retiring at the end of his 51st season.

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