Jets' Connor scores OT winner to send Predators to 5th straight defeat

Kyle Connor scored the game-winning goal 3:31 into overtime to lift the Winnipeg Jets to a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

WInnipeg d-man Demelo scores 1st of season in opening frame of 2-1 home victory

Players celebrate an overtime goal with fans cheering in the background.
Jets forward Kyle Connor, right, celebrates his overtime-winning goal with teammate Mark Schiefele during a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators in Winnipeg on Thursday. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Winnipeg Jets centre Adam Lowry figured that teammate Kyle Connor would bounce back from having his first 10 shots stopped.

Connor scored the game-winning goal 3:31 into overtime to lift the Jets to a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

"I think, even early on in the year, he was a little snakebit, but he was getting seven, eight chances, real good chances to score," said Lowry, who assisted on the winner. "You had the feeling that eventually, one of those is gonna go in."

"Tonight, even last game, I feel like he had a lot of great looks. Those goal scorers, they do so much to generate those chances, they're bound to go in. It's nice to see him get rewarded. He's been playing fantastic and generating a lot of those chances for us."

Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, who made an impressive 39 saves, got a piece of Connor's shot, but it trickled through.

"Give their goalie a lot of credit because he made a lot of very big and timely saves for them," said Jets coach Rick Bowness. "But he's [Connor] got one of the best releases in the league, so just keep shooting, man."

WATCH | Connor's OT marker helps Jets ascend past Preds:

Connor's overtime winner delivers win for Jets over Predators

6 months ago
Duration 1:07
Kyle Connor scored in overtime lifting Winnipeg to a 2-1 win over Nashville.

Dylan DeMelo added the other for Winnipeg (19-9-1), which snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 11-5-0 at home. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots before 13,949 fans at Canada Life Centre.

"Obviously happy to contribute where I can," said DeMelo. "Happy to get that opportunity four-on-four. Gotta get to that net-front, I guess. That's where all the goals are scored."

Filip Forsberg scored the lone goal for Nashville (12-12-4). The Predators dropped their fifth in a row (0-3-2), and have not won since Dec. 2.

"[Saros] gave us the chance to win the hockey game," said Predators centre Mikael Granlund. "We have two really good goalies and they are going to give us the chance to win every night. Obviously, it's disappointing we didn't get the two points for Juice with the way he played tonight.

"At the same time, we got something out of this game, and we've got to live with that."

After going into the first intermission tied at 1-1, neither side got a puck through in the second and third periods.

Midway through the third, Hellebuyck stopped Cody Glass on a partial breakaway on one of 11 shots he faced in the frame.

Winnipeg outshot Nashville 19-8 in the second as both goaltenders came up big on a number of strong scoring chances.

Hellebuyck made a quick stop on an attempted tip-in off a pass from Matt Duchene. Hellebuyck also stopped Cole Smith on a partial breakaway with the Predators on the man advantage.

Saros grabbed a rebound off a point shot from Brenden Dillon out of the air with two Jets on his doorstep during a power play. Saros also stopped a snap shot from Connor from in close.

"He made a lot of good saves tonight," said Nashville coach John Hynes. "It was a battle where we got one point, we've got to find a way to get two."

DeMelo knotted the score 15:24 into the opening period with his first of the season. After falling to the ice, he slid the puck in off a centring pass from Connor.

The Predators opened the scoring 9:04 into the first with their first shot on goal. Forsberg capped off a pretty passing play, beating Hellebuyck from the left faceoff circle.

Jets' injury woes

Jets defenceman Nate Schmidt took a hard hit from Predators forward Tanner Jeannot late in the first period and had to be helped off the ice, and was ruled out of the game. He went to concussion protocol, Jets coach Rick Bowness said.

Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler took a wicked shot from the point by teammate Josh Morrissey midway through the second. Wheeler left the ice on his own in obvious pain and did not return until the third period.

WATCH l Marchessault propels Golden Knights past Jets:

A pair of power play goals by Marchessault gives Golden Knights the win over Jets

6 months ago
Duration 1:20
Two power play goals in the third period by Jonathan Marchessault helped give Vegas a 6-5 win over Winnipeg.

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