Kyle Connor’s two goals power Winnipeg Jets past Buffalo Sabres

Jets 3 Sabres 1

WINNIPEG — Forward Kyle Connor scored twice and added an assist to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at Bell MTS Place.

Connor scored on the power play and at even strength, and he set up a short-handed goal. He reached a career high 35 regular-season goals with the power-play marker.

Defenceman Tucker Poolman also scored for Winnipeg (34-28-6), while Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for the win.

Defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen scored for Buffalo (29-29-6) midway through the second period.

Goaltender Carter Hutton stopped 33 shots for Buffalo.

It was the first of a three-game homestand for the Jets, who have now won four consecutive games in their own arena and are 18-4-3 at home.

Ristolainen pulled Buffalo to within 3-1 midway through the second when he took a bad-angle shot that went in off Hellebuyck’s left skate. Winger Kyle Okposo and centre Johan Larsson were credited with the assists.

With Ristolainen off for tripping, Connor had a power-play goal early in the second period to give Winnipeg a 3-0 lead. Left alone in front of Hutton, he converted a Patrik Laine rebound. Captain Blake Wheeler also assisted.

The Jets had taken a 2-0 lead into the second period, thanks to a short-handed goal at the 15:05 mark. With centre Nick Shore off for slashing, Poolman tipped a perfect pass from Connor past Hutton. Andrew Copp had started the play in his own end and was awarded and assist for his effort.

Connor had opened the scoring at 13:59 of the first period. He converted a perfect pass from Wheeler on a 2-on-1 rush.

The Sabres buzzed Hellebuyck in the third period, especially after pulling their goalie with more than two minutes left. But they could not solve Hellebuyck.

Connor had a couple of chances to score his third in the final frame, but was foiled by Hutton.

Winnipeg will next play host to the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday.

NOTES — Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey returned to action after missing four games with an upper-body injury … Forward Patrik Laine also returned after missing one game with a swollen left foot, the result of blocking a shot.

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