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Kyle Connor’s late goal helps Jets down Lightning

Jan 6, 2023; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN;  Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk (4) skates away from Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel (38) during the first period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Connor broke a third-period tie with the second of Winnipeg’s two five-on-three power-play goals, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice, and the Jets beat the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Friday night.

On the Jets’ second five-on-three in a 2-2 game, Connor one-timed his 17th goal 58 seconds into the man advantage for his club’s first lead at 5:38 of the third.

Scoring for the first time in 11 games, Morgan Barron put the game away with an empty-net marker at 18:34 after Connor — who also had an assist — went off for tripping with 1:52 remaining in the one-goal game.

Dubois scored both goals on deflections, and Josh Morrissey handed out three assists. Mark Scheifele had two helpers. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 of 28 shots to go to 20-9-1.

The Jets, who are 15-6-0 at home, welcomed back forwards Nikolaj Ehlers, Blake Wheeler and Cole Perfetti plus defenseman Nate Schmidt into the lineup after injury stints.

In winning for the fourth straight time, Winnipeg matched its longest streak this season, which it accomplished from Dec. 4-9.

The Lightning’s Anthony Cirelli scored and recorded his 100th career assist. Nikita Kucherov tallied once, and netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy made 16 saves.

The visitors played without Victor Hedman, as the star defenseman and his wife are expecting the birth of their second child.

Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos had the match’s first chance when he was denied by Hellebuyck on a backhander nearly 12 minutes into the game. Cirelli netted one eight seconds later when he gathered Stamkos’ rebound and flipped in his second tally.

After producing just three shots through the first 19 minutes, Winnipeg evened the game with 39 seconds left during four-on-four play. Connor fired from above the left circle, with Dubois nipping part of the puck for the tying goal.

In the second, Kucherov gave the Lightning another lead on a slick wrister. The right wing’s 14th goal came on helpers from Ian Cole and Cirelli at 1:35.

However, Tampa Bay’s Cal Foote and Nicholas Paul went off for minor penalties only 33 seconds apart. Dubois capitalized on the five-on-three power play by tipping in Morrissey’s point shot for his 19th goal at 7:05.

Dubois kept the game knotted after two with a spectacular defensive play — gloving away a puck in mid-air that got over Hellebuyck and was headed in for the go-ahead goal in the frame’s closing seconds.

–Field Level Media