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Kyle Connor scores in OT as Jets beat Blackhawks 3-2

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) and defenseman Brenden Dillon, left, celebrate after their overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks in an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley) Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) and defenseman Brenden Dillon, left, celebrate after their overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks in an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)
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CHICAGO -

Kyle Connor scored 25 seconds into overtime, and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Friday night.

Connor got his 21st goal of the season from the right circle when what looked like a shot deflected off the skate of Chicago's Nick Foligno and past goalie Petr Mrazek.

Actually, Connor was trying to make a quick pass to defenseman John Morrissey, but it worked.

"I was trying to hit him backdoor there and it just kind of went off a skate," Connor said. "Sometimes you gotta' be lucky to get a couple (points) there."

Tyler Johnson scored for the Blackhawks with 43 seconds left to tie the score 2-2. Set up by Jason Dickinson's no-look pass, Johnson scored his 12th goal from the edge of a scrum with Mrazek on the bench for an extra attacker.

But it didn't take Winnipeg long to respond and win for the fifth time in six games to tighten the standings atop the Central Division.

"I like to think we're, you know, a pretty confident group, even keel at times," Connor said. "You kind of look at what went wrong and if you can do any adjustments quick.

"That being said, that next shift is huge to go out there, and the guys did."

Nikolaj Ehlers scored twice in regulation, ending a 10-game goal-scoring drought with his 17th and 18th goals. The Jets improved to 35-15-5 to move into a tie with second-place Colorado and one point behind first-place Dallas. Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves.

The speedy Ehlers bounced back after missing practice on Thursday with an undisclosed injury. He has 10 goals and 14 assists in 30 career games against Chicago.

"He's dealing with something we can hopefully get him through," Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness said. "He's one of the fastest skaters in the league without question and I wanted to put him back on left wing to see if we could get him going."

Colin Blackwell also scored for Chicago, which has lost 11 of 12 (1-9-2) and is last in the NHL with 34 points. Seth Jones had two assists and Mrazek finished with 28 saves.

The Blackhawks have totaled just 26 goals in their last 18 games. They could have had more than two in this one.

"I thought we played well in the third period," Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said. "It was a great effort, most of the game.

"But I thought in the third period we really spent a lot of time in the O-zone carrying most of the play."

The Blackhawks pressured in the third, outshooting the Jets 13-7 in the period. Dickinson missed an empty net with Hellebuyck down on a flurry about 5 minutes in.

Hellebuyck was clipped in the head by Chicago's Taylor Raddysh midway through the second period and dropped to the ice, but remained in the game.

Chicago's Connor Bedard, who entered as the NHL's leading rookie scorer, was held off the scoresheet for the second straight game. Bedard had two goals and six points in his first three games after returning from a broken jaw last week.

Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy missed his 15th game with a groin injury.

Ehlers opened the scoring with 5:13 left in the first period from a sharp angle off left wing and made it 2-0 at 1:49 of the second, scoring on an end-to-end rush during a delayed penalty call against Chicago.

Blackwell cut it to 2-1 with 4:02 left in the second to complete a breakaway. Set up by Seth Jones' stretch pass up the middle, Blackwell skated in alone from the blue line and beat Hellebuyck with a shifty move and low shot.

Patrick Kane, who skated 16 seasons with the Blackhawks, will play his first game as an opposing player in Chicago when Detroit visits on Sunday. Kane was dealt to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline last season, then signed with the Red Wings as a free agent in November.

Kane is second only to Stan Mikita in career points for the Blackhawks with 1,225 in 1,161 games.

The Blackhawks will retire the No. 7 jersey of Hall-of-Fame defenseman Chris Chelios in a ceremony before the game. Chelios played 26 seasons in the NHL, nine with Chicago.

UP NEXT

Jets: Host Arizona on Sunday.

Blackhawks: Host Detroit on Sunday.

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