Winnipeg Jets start 2024 with 4-2 win over Tampa Bay

The Winnipeg Jets are continuing their winning ways in 2024, beating Tampa Bay 4-2 Tuesday night for their third straight win and matching a franchise record by extending their points streak to nine games.

The lethal Lightning power play got an early chance thanks to a bad call from the officials as Adam Lowry was given a high-sticking penalty even though it was Philippe Myers who caught Darren Raddysh in the face.

Tampa Bay took advantage of the gift as Steven Stamkos ripped a shot that glanced off Dylan DeMelo’s stick and past Connor Hellebuyck to make it 1-0 6:18 into the game.

Late in the first, Winnipeg got their first power play when Nick Perbix accidentally sent the puck into his own bench. Normally, that would not merit a delay of game penalty, but because a Lightning player on the bench stuck his stick in the air to stop the puck, officials decided that the puck could have gone into the crowd had that stick not hit the puck.

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Perbix was sent to the box with 17.9 seconds to go in the first, giving Winnipeg a sizeable chunk of time with the extra man to start the second period.

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The Jets weren’t able to convert but thanks to their fourth line, they tied the game just shy of five minutes into the middle frame.

After an extended shift in the Tampa end, Morgan Barron wound up covering Neal Pionk’s spot at the right point. He slid a pass across to the other point where Brenden Dillon wired a perfect slap-pass to the slot that Pionk steered past Andrei Vasilevskiy to draw level.

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Less than five minutes later, the Jets took their first lead of the night. Cole Perfetti was tied up in front as he tried to get a puck on goal but the puck bounced right to Alex Iafallo, who buried it to make it 2-1 at the 9:13 mark.

The Lightning power play went back to work when Dominic Toninato was called for holding just over 12 minutes into the period but Winnipeg managed to kill it off to preserve their lead.

The Jets carried the 2-1 advantage into the final period despite being outshot 25-15 through 40 minutes.

Winnipeg had an 8-1 edge in shots over the first ten minutes of the third thanks in part to a pair of power plays but it remained a one-goal game as the Jets failed to bury a number of chances.

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That changed with 4:47 to go thanks to a self-inflicted mistake by Vasilevskiy. He fielded a long dump in and instead of freezing it, tried to pass it up the middle but sent it right into the body of Vladislav Namestnikov. He held it for a moment before passing to Nikolaj Ehlers in the slot, who ripped it five-hole to make it 3-1 Winnipeg.

Morgan Barron ensured there would be no late rally when he scored an empty-netter with 2:07, securing Winnipeg’s 11th win in their last 14 games.

The Lightning would add a power play goal with 37 seconds left when Nikita Kucherov buried his 27th of the season.

After being named the third star of the NHL for December, Hellebuyck turned aside 32 shots while Namestnikov had three helpers in the victory.

The Jets now hit the road for a three-game trek starting Thursday night in San Jose.