For the third time in five games, the Winnipeg Jets fell behind its opponent 2-0, but this time they were unable to complete the comeback, falling in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 Monday night.
Neither side could find the back of the net in a fast-moving first period that finished with 7:53 of uninterrupted play. Winnipeg had the best chance when Dylan Samberg hit the post from the point as the Jets carried a 6-5 edge in shots on goal into the second.
The Jets got the game’s first power play early in the second but couldn’t capitalize against the NHL’s 30th-ranked penalty kill.
Montreal then started to control the run of play, leading to the game’s opening goal 4:57 into the middle frame.
Winnipeg failed to clear the puck, leading to a mini 3-on-2 in the Jets’ zone. Jake Evans slid a pass over to Mike Matheson, whose shot was stopped by Connor Hellebuyck, but the rebound bounced off the leg of Jake Anderson and into the open net, much to the delight of the large contingent of Canadiens fans in attendance.
The Canadiens got their first power play chance in the back half of the second when Brenden Dillon was called for tripping and the Habs took full advantage, though not without some controversy.
Anderson caught a loose puck near the bottom of the faceoff circle to the right of Hellebuyck. He placed the puck on the ice and it bounced over to Christian Dvorak at the back door, who whacked it home to make it 2-0.
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It seemed unclear whether Anderson or Hellebuyck touched the puck before Dvorak, so the Jets challenged the goal, believing it was a hand pass.
After a lengthy review, officials confirmed the call of a goal, handing the Habs a second power play that Winnipeg killed off.
In desperate need of a boost before intermission, the red-hot top line of the Jets rose to the occasion. At the end of a long shift, a Josh Morrissey point shot hit a body in front and landed at the side of the net where an exhausted Gabriel Vilardi potted it past Jake Allen with 56 seconds left in the second.
An early third period power play for Winnipeg turned momentarily costly when Morrissey, defending a 1-on-1 rush from Nick Suzuki, took a puck to the face when a shot from Suzuki ramped up Morrissey’s stick. He immediately dropped his stick, gloves and helmet and bolted to the Jets’ dressing room as blood streamed down his cheek. He missed about ten minutes of game action before returning.
Right after Morrissey returned, his squad tied the game. Allen stopped a Vladislav Namestnikov shot from the high slot but the rebound fell right to the stick of Cole Perfetti at the side of the crease. Perfetti banged it home to level the game with 7:36 remaining, his first goal in seven games.
In the final minute of regulation, with the game still tied, Nikolaj Ehlers was called for tripping, giving the Canadiens 1:33 of power play time to start overtime.
49 seconds into overtime, Matheson and Adam Lowry received offsetting minors, keeping the game at 4-on-3 for 44 more seconds.
The Habs won the ensuing draw and cycled the puck around, leading to Justin Barron ripping a shot high over Hellebuyck’s glove for the game winner.
The Jets return to action Wednesday night at home against Detroit.