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Connor Hellebuyck, Jets bounce back by beating Sabres

Jan 12, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Winnipeg Jets center Sam Gagner (89) takes a shot on goal during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Hellebuyck made 39 saves and the visiting Winnipeg Jets defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Thursday.

Kyle Connor scored the game-winning goal in the third period, while Dylan Samberg, Josh Morrissey and Karson Kuhlman also scored for the Jets.

Winnipeg has now won six of its last seven games, while Buffalo has lost three in a row.

It was the seventh time this season Hellebuyck has faced 40 or more shots and the Jets have a 6-0-1 record in those games. It was also a bounce-back performance for the MVP candidate after he allowed six goals earlier this week against the Detroit Red Wings.

Victor Olofsson had a goal and an assist and Tyson Jost scored for Buffalo. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 23 saves on 26 shots in the loss.

Samberg gave Winnipeg a 1-0 lead at 6:35 of the first period, picking the corner over Luukkonen’s blocker while Blake Wheeler set a screen in front.

Olofsson tied the game at 1-1 at 12:02 of the second period with his 16th goal of the season on a shot from the slot, finding the space above Hellebuyck’s glove soon after a power play had expired.

Morrissey restored Winnipeg’s lead 2:09 later with his eighth goal of the season, a slap shot that made it through traffic before beating Luukkonen. It was the 47th point of the season for Morrissey, who will make his first NHL All-Star Game appearance next month.

Jost tied the game at 2-2 2:50 into the third period after Olofsson and Rasmus Dahlin worked some offensive zone magic with back-to-back spin moves that led to passes.

Connor gave Winnipeg a 3-2 lead at 7:19 of the third period on a breakaway, skating in after a shot block by Nikolaj Ehlers and sidestepping Luukkonen with a deke for his 21st goal of the season.

Kuhlman scored into the empty net with 43 seconds remaining to ice the game for Winnipeg.

–Field Level Media