Connor’s hat trick powers Jets’ 7-4 win over Canucks

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Kyle Connor had a hat trick and the Winnipeg Jets extended their winning streak to a season-best five games with a 7-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

“Obviously a lot of potential with that line,” Connor said after being paired with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers. “We also think the same way in a lot of senses, coming into the offensive zone. That’s what gives us the ability to read off of each other. A lot of cross-and-drops, finding the weak side.

“It’s just a lot of fun right now and hopefully we just continue to grow. This is Nik’s second game back and he’s only going to get better, our chemistry is only getting better and, hopefully, the sky’s the limit.”

Connor was one of five Winnipeg players with a multi-point game.

Ehlers had a goal and two assists, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby had a goal and assist, and Morgan Barron and Dylan DeMelo, who scored short-handed, added goals. Dubois finished with four assists and Brenden Dillon had a pair.

Ehlers said he felt more like himself in his second game back, adding Connor and Dubois are easy to play with.

“I told them I might need some help in the first couple games and they did a good job with that,” said Ehlers, who was injured in the second game of the season.

“We read off each other as much as possible. I think that’s what makes this line a good line. And then as soon as we have a chance to get the puck, defensively or offensively, we’re going all out. So try to use our speed as much as possible.”

David Rittich stopped 34 shots for Winnipeg, which improved to 18-1-0 this season when scoring four or more goals in a game.

Bo Horvat scored his 29th of the season and J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists for the Canucks (17-19-3), who have one win in their last five games. Jack Studnicka and Sheldon Dries also scored.

Vancouver came back twice from two-goal deficits to tie the game.

“It sounds exhausting, really,” Miller said. “We gave up seven goals without an empty-netter. We’re just not defending, I guess, hard enough. Or, we just seem to be giving up a lot of big chances and they are capitalizing on them.”

Collin Delia started the game in net for Vancouver, but was replaced at 5:34 of the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots. Spencer Martin made 11 saves in relief.

“This is the first time in a long time I think that I’ve pulled one of them,” Vancouver head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s the first time I’ve pulled Collin and it was more of, OK, let’s slow it down.

“I know the guys wanted to play for him and I think for the next 10 minutes we came out we did a real good job, but we just couldn’t sustain it.”

Connor scored his 18th of the season after taking a feed across the front of the net from Ehlers at 6:22 of the first period.

Ilya Mikheyev appeared to score with Vancouver’s first shot of the game half a minute later, but Winnipeg successfully challenged for offside and the goal was denied.

Connor made it 2-0 after racing around defenseman Tyler Myers and beating Delia with a low shot at 7:59.

Miller got Vancouver’s first goal at 15:14, followed by Studnicka tipping in a Luke Schenn shot at 17:33 to tie the game at 2.

In his second game back after missing 36 games after sports hernia surgery, Ehlers recorded his first goal of the season at 3:40 of the second period.

Barron made it 4-2 just under two minutes later, but the Canucks quickly tied it up.

Horvat blasted a shot past Rittich at 7:05 and Dries redirected a shot by Miller during the game’s first power play at 9:26. Horvat has three goals and two assists in a four-game point streak, and 13 points in his past seven games.

A high wrist shot by Jonsson-Fjallby with 1:43 left gave the Jets a 5-4 edge.

Vancouver got a second power play early in the third, but DeMelo scored short-handed at 5:29 after taking a drop pass from Jonsson-Fjallby.

Connor completed his hat trick at 13:42.

NOTES: Connor and Dubois are riding six-game point streaks. Connor has five goals and six assists in his run, while Dubois has four goals and six assists. … Connor extended his home point streak to 11 games, collecting nine goals and 12 assists during that span. Ehlers holds the franchise record with points in 12 consecutive games at home last season. Josh Morrissey had his 10-game home point streak end.

UP NEXT

Canucks: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday in the second game of a four-game trip. Jets: At Detroit on Tuesday in the first game of a three-game trip.

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