January 31, 2018 / 4:11 AM / 9 months ago

Hutchinson shows no rust as Jets top Lightning

Michael Hutchinson won in his first NHL action of the season, and second-period goals by Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor ignited the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 win over the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night in Winnipeg.

Hutchinson, who was part of the AHL all-star festivities in Utica, N.Y., on Monday, took to the net for his first big-league start since last season and provided a 23-save performance at Bell MTS Place to reward Jets coach Paul Maurice on his 51st birthday.

The Jets successfully kicked off a 10-game homestead — which is tied for the third-longest in NHL history — and maintained their hold on top spot in the Central Division.

Laine erased a 1-0 deficit early in the second period by taking advantage of a five-on-three power play to net his 12th man-advantage marker of the campaign. Laine one-timed a perfect cross-ice pass from Blake Wheeler for his 23rd goal of season.

Connor netted the game winner just after another power play expired when he buried his second rebound opportunity against Lightning goalie Louis Domingue for his 16th goal of the campaign.

Bryan Little provided the insurance tally late in regulation.

Tampa’s Matthew Peca collected his first goal of the season late in the opening frame, but the Lightning’s three-game winning streak was snapped.

Domingue stopped 34 shots for Tampa, which had won its last four times in Winnipeg.

On the positive for the Lightning, star defenseman Victor Hedman returned after missing only five games, an incredibly quick recovery from what was supposed to be a three-to-six-week absence because of a lower-body injury.

The Jets, who have been without top center Mark Scheifele due to a suspected shoulder injury, now also have defenseman Jacob Trouba on the shelf for a couple of months due to an ankle injury. The good news for them is forward Adam Lowry returned after missing eight games due to injury.

—Field Level Media

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