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Jets use late surge to sink Sabres 5-2

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Morgan Barron and the Winnipeg Jets suddenly have a knack for rallying from third-period deficits.

On Sunday night, though, they didn’t dig themselves too big a hole in a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Barron scored the tiebreaking goal on a partial breakaway with 6:05 remaining as part of the Jets’ four-goal third period, which was capped by Vladislav Namestnikov and Sean Monahan scoring empty-net goals in the final 81 seconds.

The Jets won their ninth in 11 games. They were coming off a 5-3 win at Carolina in which Winnipeg scored all five goals in the final 20 minutes to overcome a 3-0 deficit.

“It’s been great. Those comebacks really kind of turned the momentum of the season,” Barron said after the Jets improved to 4-13-1 when trailing after two periods.

“To dig deep and pull out two wins against good teams, teams in playoff positions, it’s not easy to do. I think it speaks to the quality of the guys we have in this room.”

Josh Morrissey had a goal and an assist, and Nino Niederreiter also scored in helping the Jets (39-16-5) move into a tie with the idle Dallas Stars atop the Central Division standings.

Laurent Brossoit stopped 17 shots to improve to 10-4-2.

The Sabres, meanwhile, ran out of steam, a night after they scored five unanswered goals in a 7-2 rout of Vegas.

“We made too many mistakes. It cost us,” coach Don Granato said. “Some guys showed fatigue a little bit more than others. And when that’s the case you want to play a little bit more efficient. There’s not a whole lot more to say.”

JJ Peterka and Eric Robinson scored for Buffalo, which lost in regulation for the first time this season when leading after two periods (19-1-1).

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced, and the Sabres dropped to 5-2 in their past seven games.

The Jets scored two goals 3:17 apart in the third period to overcome a 2-1 deficit.

Morrissey tied the game on a rush, when he got in behind Sabres defenceman Henri Jokiharju. Accepting Mark Scheifele’s pass, Morrissey drove to the net and had his shot somehow trickle in through Luukkonen.

Barron’s goal came when Buffalo’s Peyton Krebs misplayed the puck at the boards just outside the Jets zone. Barron chased down the loose puck and, breaking in up the right side, snapped a shot that appeared to glance in off Luukkonen’s glove.

The Jets’ 39 wins are the franchise’s most through 60 games of a season, and already match the eighth-most in team history, when Winnipeg finished the 2021-22 season 39-22-11.

“There’s a lot of fight in this group,” said coach Rick Bowness. “I know we’re down 2-1 but we were playing really well. We were playing fast, we were creating turnovers, we were creating chances. Just stayed in the fight.”

UP NEXT

Jets: Host the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday.

Sabres: Visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

John Wawrow, The Associated Press