Connor Hellebuyck's 35 saves help Jets knock off Islanders 4-2


Mason Appleton tallies goal vs. Islanders

Mason Appleton tallies goal vs. Islanders

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- — Kyle Connor scored an empty-net goal after a 16-game absence and Mason Appleton snapped a 25-game scoring drought to help the Winnipeg Jets get back to their winning ways with a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

“When you go on such a long win streak and then you drop one game, you want to get right back to your winning ways,” Appleton said.

Gabriel Vilardi and Neal Pionk also scored for the Jets, who had an eight-game win streak and 14-game point run halted Saturday by a 2-0 loss to Philadelphia. Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for Winnipeg.

“That’s obviously a really good hockey team, a really disciplined team, they won’t give you much. But we found a way to win tonight and we’re back on the right track,” Appleton said.

Anders Lee scored twice for the Islanders, who were coming off a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

“We had chances throughout the game, I thought,” Lee said. “Guys were working, guys responded. Obviously it wasn’t enough to get the job done tonight, but I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

Ilya Sorokin stopped 40 shots for New York, which is 1-5-0 in its last six matches and 2-5-1 during the month of January.

Winnipeg is still riding a franchise record for consecutive games of allowing three or fewer goals, which is now up to 33. The NHL record in the modern era (since 1967) is 35 by the Minnesota Wild in 2014-15.

The Jets have also allowed two or fewer goals in a franchise-record 13 straight games.

Pionk’s power-play goal at 15:19 into the second period could be blamed on Sorokin’s equipment, not the goalie’s effort.

Jets forward Cole Perfetti fired a shot at the net, but the puck hit Sorokin’s right skate blade and blew the blade off.

Pionk then took a pass from Nate Schmidt and shot it into the open side of the net because Sorokin couldn’t push over.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a goalie without a skate blade get scored on, so some unlucky bounces, but I thought it was a better response,” Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield said.

Islanders coach Lane Lambert was asked if there should be some type of rule to stop play if a goalie loses a blade.

“If he’s unable to play, I guess there would be certainly an argument for it,” Lambert said. “Loses his mask or something there is, so it’s just unfortunate.”

Winnipeg, which wrapped up a four-game homestand with a 3-1-0 record, received good news the morning of the game when Connor returned to action following a knee-on-knee hit by Ducks forward Ryan Strome in Anaheim on Dec. 10. The winger returned a week earlier than the initial six- to eight-week estimate. He had 19:03 of ice time.

“Give (Connor) credit, because most guys take two or three games to get their timing and their reads and everything,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said.

“He just stepped in there tonight like he hadn’t missed 16 games. That’s very, very impressive.”


Islanders: Finish a four-game road trip Friday in Chicago.

Jets: Start a three-game road trip Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.