January 1, 2020 / 4:08 AM / a month ago

Connor's hat trick lifts Jets over Avs

EditorsNote: fixes headline, first graf and second graf

Dec 31, 2019; Denver, Colorado, USA; Winnipeg Jets left wing Gabriel Bourque (57) and Colorado Avalanche left wing Matt Calvert (11) battle for the puck in the first period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Connor had his second career hat trick, Blake Wheeler added two goals and an assist, and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Colorado Avalanche 7-4 on Tuesday night in Denver.

Mark Scheifele had a goal and three assists, Nikolaj Ehlers produced a goal and two assists, Jack Roslovic notched three assists, Neal Pionk had two assists, and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 39 shots for the Jets.

Nathan MacKinnon had two goals, Nazem Kadri produced a goal and an assist, Gabriel Landeskog also scored, and Sam Girard and Erik Johnson each had two assists for Colorado.

Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves.

The Jets didn’t get their first power-play opportunity until midway through the third period but didn’t take long to cash in. Winnipeg won the faceoff, and Connor tipped in Pionk’s shot from the point at 10:45, just seven seconds into the power play, for a 4-3 lead.

Connor got his third on a backhander at 16:31 for a 5-3 edge. Wheeler and Ehlers had empty-net goals sandwiching Kadri’s goal for Colorado.

Wheeler gave the Jets the lead when he took a cross-ice pass from Ehlers and snapped a shot past Grubauer at 6:25 of the first period.

The Avalanche got even a few minutes later when MacKinnon cycled to the top of the offensive zone, took a pass from Girard and beat Hellebuyck with a shot to the top left corner at 9:43.

Connor gave Winnipeg the lead again midway through the second when he tipped his own rebound over Grubauer’s left shoulder at 8:27.

Colorado answered on the power play later in the second. Girard fed MacKinnon at the left circle for a one-timer that beat Hellebuyck at 13:47. It was his MacKinnon’s 24th goal of the season.

Just over a minute later, Scheifele stole the puck from Mikko Rantanen, then got a feed from Pionk and beat Grubauer with a shot from the slot at 14:53. It was his 18th goal of the season.

Connor took a double minor for high sticking in the third period, and Colorado capitalized on the second two minutes when Landeskog scored on a rebound at 7:15 to tie the game 3-3. It was Landeskog’s 10th goal of the season.

—Field Level Media

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