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Jets topple Sabres in shootout without Connor, Schmidt | CBC Sports

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Blake Wheeler had a goal in regulation and scored the shootout winner, Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Sabres 3-2 on Wednesday night in Buffalo for their third consecutive victory.

Mason Appleton had the tying goal in regulation and the Jets got shootout goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele to win their fifth in six games as they push for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Zemgus Girgensons scored twice and Kyle Okposo had two assists for the Sabres, who have a point in seven straight games, their longest streak over the past three seasons.

Winnipeg opened a back-to-back road trip without leading scorer Kyle Connor and defenceman Nate Schmidt, who were both placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols earlier Wednesday.

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Hellebuyck stopped six shots in overtime while the Jets killed a two-minute slashing penalty on Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Craig Anderson made 25 saves for the Sabres.

The Jets tied it twice in the second period on goals by Wheeler and Appleton.

Wheeler tapped in his 11th at 4:13 of the second after Dubois faked Anderson off his skates and slid a backhand to the front of the net.

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Nikolaj Ehlers’ cross-ice pass on the rush set up Appleton in the right circle with 21 seconds left in the period. It was the seventh goal of the season for Appleton, and his first in four games since being reacquired in a trade with the Seattle Kraken, who selected him off the Jets’ roster in the July expansion draft.

Girgensons gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead 8:24 into the second, knocking in the rebound from Henri Jokiharju’s shot for his 10th goal.

The Sabres had a 13-5 advantage in shots on goal in the first and went ahead on Girgensons’ goal with 5:21 remaining in the period. After getting his shot blocked by Scheifele, Girgensons pounced on the loose puck in the high slot and snapped it past Hellebuyck.

The Jets didn’t record a shot almost the midway point of the first period but nearly scored soon after when Appleton deflected one off the post.

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