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National Hockey League
Winnipeg 3, Buffalo 1
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Where: Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Referees: Francis Charron, Eric Furlatt
Linesmen: David Brisebois, Brian Murphy
Attendance: 15325

Kyle Connor recorded two goals and an assist to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

The victory helps the Jets keep pace in a crowded Western Conference wild-card race, as five teams sit within two points of the final two playoff positions. Winnipeg is tied with the Vancouver Canucks with 74 points, with the Canucks ahead of the Jets on a tiebreaker.

The Sabres have lost four consecutive games, all during a nightmarish road trip. Buffalo has been outscored 15-7 over that 0-4-0 stretch.

Connor's 34th and 35th goals of the season set a career high for the Winnipeg forward, who has scored in each of his last four games.

After putting the Jets ahead at 13:59 of the first period, Connor then helped set up a short-handed goal just over two minutes later. A Sabres turnover in the Jets' end sprung Connor and Andrew Copp down the ice, and Connor sent the puck to Tucker Poolman in front of Buffalo's net for Poolman's third goal of the season.

Buffalo has allowed 11 short-handed goals this season, the second-highest total of any team in the NHL.

The Jets followed that bit of special teams magic with a power-play goal of their own 3:41 into the second period. After Mark Scheifele's initial shot was stopped by Carter Hutton, Connor was in position to deposit the rebound for his second goal of the night.

Rasmus Ristolainen scored at 10:34 of the second period for the Sabres' only goal of the game. Ristolainen entered Tuesday's play on both a 19-game goal drought and a four-game point drought.

Blake Wheeler collected two assists. The Winnipeg captain has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) over his last 10 games.

Connor Hellebuyck saved 25 of 26 shots to earn his 28th win. Hellebuyck leads all NHL goalies this season with 1,555 saves.

Hutton stopped 32 of 35 shots in the losing effort. Hutton is 1-4-0 over his last five starts.

Defenseman Josh Morrissey returned to Winnipeg's lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. Patrik Laine was also back for the Jets after a lower-body injury kept him out of Winnipeg's previous game.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
 
Buffalo   Winnipeg
Rasmus Ristolainen 1 Points Kyle Connor 3
Rasmus Ristolainen 1 Goals Kyle Connor 2
Johan Larsson 1 Assists Blake Wheeler 2
N/A Power Play Goals Kyle Connor 1
N/A Short Handed Goals Tucker Poolman 1
Carter Hutton .914 Save Percentage Connor Hellebuyck .962
Carter Hutton 32 Saves Connor Hellebuyck 25
Team Stats Summary
 
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Buffalo 26 1 0-2 2-3 6 19
Winnipeg 35 3 1-3 2-2 4 24
Upcoming Games
  • Winnipeg will play their next game at home against Vegas. The Jets have a W/L % of .412 after a win and .588 after a loss.
  • Buffalo will play their next game at home against Pittsburgh. The Sabres have a W/L % of .467 after a win and .417 after a loss.