Kyle Connor scored twice and added an assist with regular linemates Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele in COVID-19 protocol and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-1 on Thursday night for their first victory of the season.
Playing on a line with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Evgeny Svechnikov, Connor scored his first goal into an empty net with 2:49 left, then beat goalie John Gibson with 1:14 to go to cap the scoring.
Fans rained down hats after the second goal as through Connor had a hat trick.
“No, I’ve never seen that before,” Connor said. “The rumor was it was free hat night, and they didn’t like them, so they were just throwing them.”
Said Jets coach Paul Maurice:
“Checked the card, made sure I hadn’t missed something. But we appreciate the enthusiasm.”
Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves to help the Jets improve to 1-2-1.
Dubois had a goal and assist, Andrew Copp and Josh Morrissey also scored, and Nate Schmidt added two assists.
Wheeler was symptomatic, tested positive and began the NHL’s minimum 10-day quarantine Monday. Scheifele tested positive Tuesday, but is asymptomatic. He needs to have two straight negative tests to return.
“Obviously, when you go two guys down, two important players, it’s an opportunity for others and I thought we did some good things, but I thought we can improve on it. We can play a full 60 minutes,” Dubois said.
Troy Terry scored for Anaheim, and Gibson made 22 saves.
“The shots were in our favor and we were creating offense, but that’s when we got lazy,” Terry said. “When you’re playing these teams in the NHL, if you take a shift off here or there, they’re going to make you pay. That’s our next step.”
Playing the third game of a four-game trip, the Ducks fell to 2-3-0.
“Winnipeg is a dangerous team,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “If you leave something a little too juicy they’re going to put it in your net. So I think it was a great lesson in that.”
Ducks: At Minnesota on Saturday night.
Jets: Host Nashville on Saturday night.