Jets drop wild affair to Rangers as leaky defence begins to show

Brett Howden broke a tie with 4:09 remaining, and the New York Rangers beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-4 in a wild season opener on Thursday night.

Mika Zibanejad had a goal and three assists, Jacob Trouba had a goal and two assists, and Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for New York. Marc Staal also scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist — making his 14th consecutive opening-day start — stopped 43 shots.

On the go-ahead goal, Jesper Fast fired a shot from the left point that was blocked by former Ranger Neal Pionk. The puck went to Howden, who scored to give New York its fourth lead of the game.

The Jets went on their fifth power play with 1:37 left, and were skating with a 6-on-4 advantage when but Brendan Smith scored into the empty net with 17 seconds remaining to seal the Rangers’ win.


Blake Wheeler had two goals, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor also scored and Nikolaj Ehlers had three assists for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck finished with 26 saves.

WATCH | Trouba scores as Rangers down Jets

Jacob Trouba netted his first goal as a Ranger in New York’s 6-4 victory over the Jets at Madison Square Garden. 1:34

Connor gave the Jets their first lead of the game, 4-3, with a power-play goal at 2:41 of the third as he tipped Josh Morissey’s shot through Lundqvist’s legs. Patrik Laine also had an assist on the goal.

Zibanejad, who had 30 goals last season, got a pass from Trouba, broke in on Hellebuyck and beat the goalie to tie it at 5:04.

With the Rangers on a power play carrying over from the end of the first period, Panarin — signed to a seven-year, $ 81.5-million US free-agent deal on July 1 — got his first goal for New York just 27 seconds into the second. Zibanejad’s shot from the right point was stopped by Scheifele, but the puck ended up in front and Panarin fired it in to put the Rangers up 2-1.

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Rob Pizzo looks at which teams have the best chance to win Canada’s first Stanley Cup since 1993. 3:43

The Jets tied it just 30 seconds later as Ehlers brought the puck up the left side on a rush, and sent it across to Wheeler, who quickly scored.

Trouba, acquired from Winnipeg in the off-season trade that involved Pionk, gave New York a 3-2 lead off a pass from Kreider at 6:03, but Wheeler tied it again just nine seconds later as he cut through defence and beat Lundqvist.

Lundqvist made two great saves on Scheifele and Laine on consecutive chances midway through the middle period, and had several nice stops on a Winnipeg power play late in the period — including an attempt by Jake Roslovic in front.

Staal, scoreless in the final 42 games last season, got the Rangers on the scoreboard first. Off a give-and-go with Zibanejad on the left side inside the blue line, Staal went around the back of the net and stuffed the puck past Hellebuyck with 8:25 left in the first.

Scheifele tied it for Winnipeg late in the first. Ehlers got the puck behind the net and sent an pass in front between the circles to Scheifele who fired it in off Lundqvist’s shoulder with 2:37 remaining,

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CBC | Sports News