Fri, 03 Apr 2020

Okposo scores twice as Sabres edge Jets

Field Level Media
24 Feb 2020, 09:05 GMT+10

Kyle Okposo scored both goals, rookie goalie Jonas Johansson recorded his first NHL victory and the Buffalo Sabres beat the visiting Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Okposo netted markers in the first and third periods and stretched his point streak to four games -- three goals and two assists -- in the five games since his return following a six-game absence.

An American Hockey League All-Star this season for the Rochester Americans, Johansson won for the first time by making 25 saves in his third career start.

Zemgus Girgensons contributed two assists, and Brandon Montour and Henri Jokiharju added helpers for Buffalo, which won for the sixth time in the last eight games and improved to 19-10-4 on home ice.

Blake Wheeler tallied a goal and Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves as he started and lost for the second time in two days for the Jets, who fell to 1-2-0 on their four-game road trip.

Winnipeg native Cody Eakin, acquired Friday from the Vegas Golden Knights, made his debut and centered the third line. Defenseman Josh Morrissey took the warmup but was scratched (upper body).

Winnipeg fell behind for the eighth consecutive game midway through the first period less than a minute after the game's first power play ended.

Jokiharju's long shot struck the stick of Winnipeg defenseman Anthony Bitetto, and the puck caromed off Girgensons and over to Okposo, who slid his eighth goal through the goalie's pads at 9:58.

The Jets evened it at 1 when Wheeler notched his 21st on a pass from Mark Scheifele after a strong play by Neal Pionk to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Scheifele fed Wheeler with the tying goal at 16:37.

Buffalo held a 9-6 shot advantage in a scoreless second, but the visitors had a fine chance when Nicholas Shore centered a short pass to Nikolaj Ehlers, wide open in the low slot and with Johansson cheating over on Shore. But the 24-year-old Swedish backstop slid over and denied Ehlers at 7:34 on the period's best scoring chance.

Okposo struggled to handle a redirection off Girgensons as the pair neared the Buffalo offensive zone in the third period. Okposo gathered the puck and lifted a high shot in close that beat Hellebuyck glove side at 7:47.

Hellebuyck left the ice with under a minute to play, but the Jets couldn't score with the extra skater on as time ran out.

--Field Level Media

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