Ehlers' OT winner earns Jets win over Senators
OTTAWA — The Winnipeg Jets may not have played their best game of the season, but they still found a way to steal a 2-1 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators thanks to Nikolaj Ehlers’ goal with 45.8 seconds remaining in the extra period.
“I didn’t think he was flat-footed enough for me to just skate around him,” said Ehlers. “He’s a good skater, as well. He’s a really good player. I think, just try to make him go left and then (deke) quick between his stick and skates to create that separation and just keep the speed going. It happens so quick. Sometimes you try things and they work out and luckily they did tonight.”
Saturday’s game was the third of nine straight games against Eastern Conference opponents for the Jets, who are 13-1-3 against the east this season.
“Give us credit for finding a way to win the game even though I would say we weren’t at our best,” said Jets coach Rick Bowness. “But (Connor Hellebuyck) is going to make the timely saves and (Ehlers) is going to get that timely goal. We get the two points and move on.”
The Senators’ (16-24-1) likely deserved a better fate, but still take a lot from almost beating one of the best teams in the league.
“I thought that was probably the first game that we stuck with the game plan and we were patient,” said Senators interim head coach Jacques Martin. “Even after two we’re down one and we felt it’s going to come and it did and we got a goal and tied it. We had some opportunities.”
Mason Appleton scored in regulation for the Jets (30-10-4) while Hellebuyck made 34 saves.
Parker Kelly had the lone goal for Ottawa, which played its first overtime game of the season. Korpisalo stopped 27 shots.
The Senators were clearly the better team in the first 20 minutes holding the Jets to just four shots and shutting its power play down twice.
Appleton opened the scoring at 14:35 of the second when Nino Niederreiter found him in the slot for his eighth of the season.
Ottawa had a couple good chances on its own power play, but Hellebuyck was solid stopping Tim Stutzle and Vladimir Tarasenko.
“When you go up against one of the best teams in the league and you give a battle like that there’s a lot of positives to take from it,” said Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot.
“But at the end of the day, like I said, it’s about us playing our game and doing it every single night and doing it for 60 and I think we did that tonight.”
Ottawa tied the game 1-1 at 4:43 of the third. Tarasenko, who was below the goal line, fed Kelly out front and he fired a shot past Hellebuyck to the short side.
Kelly, who has four goals in his last eight games, seems to have found his stride lately.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities I think,” said Kelly. “It just comes down to bearing down on it and things are going in right now, but I’ve said before I’m just trying to be a good 200-foot player and play the right way and I think when you play the right way you get rewarded. Last couple of games have been good for that.”
The Senators had a scary moment when Josh Norris, playing in his first game after missing the last four with a lower-body injury, left after taking a Chychrun shot in the arm. Norris did return to the contest and said he felt fine after the game.
The matchup between Jets head coach Rick Bowness, 69, and Ottawa’s Jacques Martin, 71, is the oldest in the NHL.
Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot each played in their 400th NHL game Saturday. Travis Hamonic was a healthy scratch for the second straight game for the Senators. Shane Pinto served the final game of a 41-game suspension for activities related to sports wagering. He signed a one-year, US$775,000 contract Friday and is expected to make his season debut in Philadelphia on Sunday. Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele missed his third straight game.
Senators: Travel to Philadelphia to play the Flyers on Sunday.
Jets: Head to Boston to face the Bruins on Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2024.