Kyle Connor breaks 3rd-period tie, Jets beat Sabres 4-2

Jan 12, 2023, 4:47 AM | Updated: 7:58 pm
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a save in traffic during the first period of ...

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a save in traffic during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

              Buffalo Sabres goaltender Eric Comrie (31) makes a save during warmups prior to an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
            
              Buffalo Sabres right wing Alex Tuch (89) and Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan Samberg (54) battle in front of the Jets' net during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
            
              Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen makes a save during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
            
              Buffalo Sabres defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin (46) carries the puck past Winnipeg Jets left wing Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (71) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
            
              Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey (44) celebrates his goal against the Buffalo Sabres with center Sam Gagner (89) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
            
              Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a save in traffic during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Kyle Connor broke a tie on a third-period breakaway in the Winnipeg Jets’ 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Nikolaj Ehlers intercepted Rasmus Dahlin’s pass and sent the puck to Connor, who sprinted up the ice and beat goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen at 7:19 to help give the Jets their sixth victory in seven games.

“(Luukkonen) was out pretty far,” Connor said. “I just gave him kind of a little fake shot and he froze pretty good. Backhand, forehand, lost an edge, but I had him, so it worked out.”

Dylan Samberg, Josh Morrissey, and Karson Kuhlman also scored for Winnipeg. Connor Hellebuyck made 39 saves.

“It was a great performance. He’s been great all year,” Connor said about Hellebuyck. “I think he’s been great ever since he got into this league and he just continues to show, even after a night like in Detroit (six goals allowed in a 7-5 loss), that his confidence never wavers. He comes right back out and plays one of his best games of the year.”

Victor Olofsson and Jost scored for Buffalo, and Luukkonen — recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League earlier in the day — made 23 saves. The Sabres have lost three in a row and four of six.

“Hellebuyck looked like a sumo wrestler with athleticism. He was good,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “He was big and solid, and we did have enough opportunity right down to the last one when they got their game-winning goal.”

Jost tied it at 2 at 2:50 of the third period when he snapped a shot past Hellebuyck after a series of passes from Rasmus Dahlin and Olofsson.

“We’re going to wake up tomorrow and get ready to go to Nashville to play there Saturday night,” Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt said. “What happens, happens there, and we’re going to get ready for the next one.”

Connor followed with 21st goal of the season, and Kuhlman had an empty-net goal.

“He’s a game-breaker with that speed,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “He made a really good play to get the breakaway. To give up the chances that we did and then come back and score, you talk about timely goals.”

MAENALANEN RETURNS

Jets forward Saku Maenalanen returned after missing 16 games because of an upper-body injury. Forward David Gustafsson was placed on injured reserve to make room on the roster.

UP NEXT

Jets: At Pittsburgh on Friday night.

Sabres: At Nashville on Saturday night.

___

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