Jets edge Avalanche 7-6 to take 1-0 series lead Featured

Written by  Published in Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg, Manitoba (NHN)-Kyle Connor scored twice and added an assist and Mark Scheifele scored and added a pair of helpers as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Colorado Avalanche by a 7-6 score Sunday night to take a 1-0 series lead as they kicked off the NHL playoffs.

Jets captain also Adam Lowry had a pair of goals.

Josh Morrissey had a goal and an assist.

Vladislav Namestnikov, Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets.

Nino Niederreiter and Gabriel Valardi each had a pair of assists.

Connor Hellebuyck made 39 saves for Winnipeg, Valeri Nichushkin, Miles Wood, Nathan Mackinnon, Artturi Lehkonen, Cale Makar and Casey Mittelstadt scored for the Avalanche.

Alexandar Georgiev turned aside 16 shots for Colorado.

There were six goals scored in the first period.

Valeri Nichushkin got the Avalanche on the board first when Josh Manson banked the puck off the boards and Nichushkin picked up the puck moved in to the top of the right face off dot and beat Hellebuyck short side with high wrister 6:10 into the first.

The goal was his first of the playoffs.

Josh Morrissey knotted the contest at one just under two minutes later 8:02 into the first when he took a drop pass from Kyle Connor just inside the blue line before floating a wrister through a screened Georgiev to make it 1-1.

Vladislav Namestnikov scored just under the twelve minute mark when Avalanche defenceman Josh Manson's attempted clearing attempt deflected off of a forechecking Alex Iafalo's stick and went right to Namestnikov, who blew a slapshot past Georgiev to make it 2-1 Jets.

Miles Wood tied the game at 14:47 when Winnipeg defenceman Dylan Samberg turned over the puck behind the goal line right onto Ross Colton's stick.

He dropped the puck for Joel Kiviranta, who slid the disc to a driving Wood, who snapped it past Hellebuyck to tie the game at two.

Nathan Mackinnon gave Colorado the lead at 15:05 when he took a cross ice feed from Mikko Rantanen before wiring a wrister past Hellebuyck to make it 3-2.

Mark Scheifele tied it at 15:53 when Gabe Vilardi found him in alone in front of the Avalanche net.

Scheifele fired the disc past Georgiev to make it 3-3.

Adam Lowry gave the Jets the lead just under nine minutes into the second when he got control of the puck in the neutral zone before moving in and sliding the disc between Georgiev's pads to make it 4-3.

Adam Lowry scored 3:38 into the third after he faceplanted Mikko Rantanen along the side boards before taking the puck and beating Georgiev with a forehand deke where the puck appeared to walk the goal line.

The play was reviewed before being ruled a goal.

The goal was his second of the game and playoffs.

Kyle Connor made it 6-3 5:51 into the third with a power play marker.

The goal was his first of the playoffs.

Artturi Lehkonen scored on the power play 6:29 into the third when he tipped a Cale Makar point shot past Hellebuyck to make it 6-4.

Kyle Connor scored his second of the contest at 8:54 when he snapped a Gabriel Valardi feed past Georgiev, beating him glove side to make it 7-4.

The goal was his second of the playoffs.

Cale Makar's unassisted power play marker at 12:24 pulled the Avalanche to within a pair of goals when he beat Hellebuyck with a point shot through traffic.

Jets Head Coach Rick Bowness said his club just kept going.

"Yeah, we were resilient tonight. We found a way. The goals we gave up in the first were a little too easy for them. We kind of gave them those goals, but we also recognized it and that’s important that we recognize, ok, that was on us. Let’s clean these things up. We cleaned them up in the second period for the most part, and then they took it to another level in the third and we knew that was going to come. We bent a little, we broke a couple of times but listen, give the guys credit. We found a way to win that wasn’t structured. It wasn’t played out the way it was supposed to be structured. So find a way and we’ll take that every day," he said.

Colorado Head Coach Jared Bednar pulled his goaltender with over three minutes remaining in regulation.

Casey Mittelstadt scored with 27.1 seconds remaining to pull the Avalanche to within a goal.

Bednar said his club played hard. "Well we played hard. We played extremely hard. You don't get six (goals) on the Jets without doing that like you mentioned," he said. "There's a lot to look at that is on the positive side. We'll have to be better in a couple of areas of the game. But I don't think there's a need for frustration at all after that." "Throwing your game plan out the window is something that fragments our team. Like we have to stick to our plan and the way we want to play. Doesn't mean that we don't try to make adjustments here or there on things that we see or the things we pick up," said Bednar.

Avs goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, who let in 7 goals on 23 shots put on a brave face after the game. "You have to stay positive and try to find out what happened today and go forward. It's only 1-0 in the series so I'm looking forward to the next game," he said.

Game two goes Tuesday night at 830PM CST.



Philip Paul-Martin

A well rounded journalist with experience in both print and broadcast mediums, Philip has written news stories with impact, broken national news while at the CBC, anchored radio news and hosted talk show radio. His coverage includes feature writing, game stories and more in-depth pieces during the off-season as well as writing about the National Hockey League and the Winnipeg Jets. He calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home.