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Bad breaks costly for Jets


WINNIPEG—An unfortunate bounce cost the Winnipeg Jets in more ways than one.

Kyle Okposo scored the game-winner 2:20 into overtime as the Jets fell 4-3 to the N.Y. Islanders—their sixth-straight loss at home and ninth in their last 10 at MTS Centre.

Islanders’ forward Frans Nielsen had blasted the puck toward the net, but it hit Jets’ rookie forward Nikolaj Ehlers in the face.

Okposo got the rebound and shot it in past goalie Michael Hutchinson.

Okposo cut short his jubilation and waved toward the benches for help after seeing Ehlers down on the ice.

“I think Nik’s going to be fine. We’ll check him tomorrow [Friday],” said Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice.

Okposo described the quirky goal in a subdued voice.

“I’ll take ’em anyway I can get ’em. I haven’t scored in a while,” he noted.

“We broke up the play [in our own end] and I tried to go to the net, and got a lucky bounce off Ehlers’ face and had a wide-open net.”

Centre Mark Scheifele had given the Jets a 3-2 lead with 2:03 left in regulation time on his second goal of the game.

But the Islanders took advantage of an extra attacker—and Nick Leddy’s shot was deflected by Anders Lee to send the game into overtime with just 29 seconds to go.

Calvin de Haan and Shane Prince also scored for New York (35-20-7) while Lee added an assist.

Thomas Greiss made 26 saves for the win.

Hutchinson turned aside 23 of the 27 shots he faced for the Jets (26-32-5), with Tyler Myers scoring the other goal.

“That’s a frustrating loss,” Hutchinson said.

“To have the lead that close to the end and for them to score, and then in overtime for a goal to go in like that, it’s unfortunate.

“Especially when you see one of our good, young players take the puck right in the face there, you never like to see that happen,” he added.

“It’s an unfortunate thing that happened and hopefully he’s OK.”

Prince put the Islanders up 2-1 at 8:32 of the third period, but Myers quickly evened it up at 9:56.

It was the sixth game in a season-high seven-game road trip for New York (5-1-0), including a shootout win over Calgary.

“These are good teams we’re playing,” Islanders’ head coach Jack Capuano said of their success on the trip.

“[The Jets] are at home in front of their fans and their great atmosphere,” he noted. “You’ve got to find a way to win.

“It’s not always going to be pretty and sexy.”

Capuano marked his 200th win as an NHL head coach.

The Islanders went into the game with the NHL’s top penalty kill, but the Jets scored on the power play at 16:13 of the first period while Johnny Boychuk was off for roughing.

Dustin Byfuglien—playing in his 400th NHL game—had his shot blocked by a defender, but Mathieu Perreault picked up the loose puck and sent a pass over for Scheifele to tap in.

It was Scheifele’s 16th goal of the season—a career-high for the third-year centre that he bumped up to 17 with his second marker of the night.

The assist extended Byfuglien’s point streak to seven games, with one goal and six assists.

Perreault also marked a career-high 26th assist of the season.

Jets’ defenceman Anthony Peluso left the game in the first period after crashing into the net and didn’t return because of an upper-body injury.

“We’ll get final results tomorrow [Friday] but I’m not optimistic,” Maurice said.

Elsewhere in the NHL, Minnesota edged Toronto 2-1, L.A. nipped Montreal 3-2, Edmonton blanked Philadelphia 4-0, Buffalo doubled Calgary 6-3, San Jose shaded Vancouver 3-2, and Tampa Bay beat Ottawa 4-1.

Boston doubled Chicago 4-2, Pittsburgh beat the N.Y. Rangers 4-1, New Jersey topped Nashville 5-4 (OT), Colorado downed Florida 3-2, and Anaheim dumped Arizona 5-1.

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