Connor’s record-setting power-play goal leads Jets to 4-2 victory over Lightning

WINNIPEG — Kyle Connor’s record-setting power-play goal at 5:38 of the third lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.

Morgan Barron sealed Winnipeg's fourth straight win with a short-handed goal into an empty net with 1:26 remaining.

Connor registered his 41 game-winning goal, moving him past Ilya Kovalchuk for the most in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise history.

Connor also had an assist while Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice for the Jets (25-13-1). Josh Morrissey added three assists while Mark Scheifele had two.

Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 shots.

Anthony Cirelli, with a goal and assist, and Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning (24-13-1), who ended a three-game road trip with a 1-2-0 mark. Tampa Bay has a 9-9 road record.

After missing two straight games with an illness, Andrei Vasilevsky stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced for Tampa Bay.

The Lightning outshot the Jets 12-4 in the first period, but the game was tied 1-1.

Cirelli scored at 11:48, converting a rebound off a Steven Stamkos shot to beat Hellebuyck.

With nine seconds remaining in the period, Dubois tipped in a Connor wrist shot for his 18th goal of the season.

Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead at 1:35 of the second when Kucherov’s shot went through Hellebuyck’s pads.

Winnipeg went on an 87-second two-man advantage at 6:05. The Jets capitalized, this time with Dubois getting a piece of Morrissey’s point shot at 7:05.

The Jets broke the tie with another two-man advantage after Stamkos was sent off for cross-checking at 4:34. Vladislav Namestnikov followed him six seconds later for delay of game.

Connor’s one-timer beat Vasilevsky on his glove side for his 17th goal of the season.

Stamkos had a great chance to tie it up with about six minutes remaining, but his shot ended up being swiped away from the goal line by Jets defenceman Dylan DeMelo.

Connor was called for tripping with 1:52 left and Tampa Bay pulled Vasilevsky for the six-on-four, but Barron ruined the attack.

FOUR-PACK BACK

The Jets returned four players from the injury list.

Nikolaj Ehlers was back after missing 36 games. The forward was hurt in the second game of the season and had sports hernia surgery.

Blake Wheeler returned after sitting out nine games following groin surgery. Veteran defenceman Nate Schmidt also missed nine games with an upper-body injury while rookie forward Cole Perfetti was out five games with a shoulder injury.

MILESTONE MOMENTS

Two players and one coach marked milestones Friday.

Dubois played in his 400th NHL career game, while Kucherov skated in his 600th.

Jets head coach Rick Bowness, 67, was behind the bench for his NHL-record 2,600th game, including stints as a head coach, associate coach or assistant coach.

UP NEXT

Jets: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday afternoon.

Lightning: Have a break until hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2023.

Judy Owen, The Canadian Press