The Minnesota Wild lost the puck — and the lead — and eventually Game 1.
Patrick Laine tied it at 4:51 of the third period off the turnover, and Joe Morrow scored with 6:13 left to help the Winnipeg Jets beat the Wild 3-2 on Wednesday night for the first playoff victory in franchise history.
Joe Morrow scored the winner in Winnipeg’s 3-2 win over the Wild.1:26
In the franchise’s only other playoff appearances since joining the NHL in 1999 in Atlanta, the club was swept in 2007 by the New York Rangers and 2015 by Anaheim.
“It’s nice to have won one now because that was kind of what people talked about before — this team has never won a playoff game, they’ve only been there twice,” said Bryan Little, who has been with the franchise since 2007-08.
“So it’s nice to get that off our backs and, hopefully, we get a lot more.”
“We had an opportunity with the lead in the third period and our goaltender playing good, we thought we had a chance to win,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “You can’t give No. 29 [Laine] a chance right down the slot to score on a turnover. You’re looking for disaster there.
“It was a bad turnover. When you turn the pucks over in the middle of the ice. He deked our player, we didn’t hold the middle, and he got to come right down Main Street. And when he does that, he’s shooting the puck. When he shoots the puck, every chance, it’s got a chance to go in.”
Nikolaj Ehlers set up the Morrow at the point for a one-timer that beat goalie Devan Dubnyk. Morrow was acquired at the trade deadline from Montreal in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick this summer.
“I’ve had a major roller coaster of an NHL career so far,” Morrow, 25, said. “To have a little, I don’t even know if you want to call it a Cinderella story of a night tonight, it makes you feel good.”
Winnipeg came out strong
Mark Schiefele added a power-play goal, and Connor Hellebuyck made 18 saves for the Jets.
Matt Cullen and Zach Parise scored for Minnesota, and Dubnyk stopped 37 shots.
Game 2 is Friday night in Winnipeg.
Laine tied it at 2 at 4:51 of the third period, putting a high wrist shot past Dubnyk on the glove side.
Winnipeg outshot Minnesota 13-4 in the scoreless first period. Dubnyk had to make a couple of big saves in the last three minutes, including a pair from close in by Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Copp.
The Winnipeg Jets won the first playoff game in their franchise’s history, defeating the Minnesota Wild 3-2.0:50
The Jets had the game’s first power play 24 seconds into the middle period after Minnesota’s Eric Staal was called for tripping.
Dubnyk made a save on a blast from Scheifele, while two of Laine’s trademark blasts from the right circle went wide of the net and the other was blocked by Nate Prosser’s arm.
Byfuglien was sent to the box six minutes later for roughing and Minnesota put a few shots at Hellebuyck, but it was the Jets who capitalized on their second chance with the man advantage.
‘Aggressive all over the ice’
Twenty seconds after Prosser was called for holding, Blake Wheeler sent a pass to an open Scheifele in the slot for his one-time at 17:37.
The Wild outshot the Jets 12-8 in the second.
Cullen took a backhand pass from Jordan Wheeler and beat Hellebuyck on the blocker side at 1:46 of third period to tie it.
Parise quickly put the visitors ahead at 3:58 on a 2-on-1 with Mikael Granlund after a Winnipeg turnover.
“We were able to give ourselves a chance a grab a lead there and even when it’s tied we were still in good shape,” Parise said. “I don’t think [we took our foot off the gas]…. They were aggressive all over the ice. I think when we didn’t get it behind them. That’s when we let them keep coming back at us.”
Laine’s tying goal came 53 seconds later after Jets centre Paul Stastny absorbed a hit to give Laine some time and space.
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