Connor scores twice, Jets beat Leafs in regular-season finale
Winnipeg Jets' Kyle Connor (81) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) as TJ Brodie (78) defends during second period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday, May 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, May 14, 2021 10:38PM EDT
WINNIPEG - Kyle Connor scored twice including the eventual winner as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Friday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Mason Appleton and Jansen Harkins with an empty netter also scored for the Jets (30-23-3), while Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves.
Pierre Engvall and Ilya Mikheyev scored for the Maple Leafs (35-14-7). Jack Campbell stopped 20-of-23 shots.
Toronto gave forward Mitch Marner the night off, with Adam Brooks taking his spot on a line with Auston Matthews and Alex Galchenyuk.
The game meant little as both teams already have their first-round playoff matches set.
The Jets start their first-round series with the Oilers on Wednesday in Edmonton, while the Leafs welcome Montreal for Game 1 of their series Thursday - the first post-season meeting between the Original Six rivals since 1979.
Winnipeg had an early scare when forward Paul Stastny was hit into the end boards by Toronto defenceman Justin Holl on the game's first shift. He went to the dressing room before returning later in the period. He stuck around for the second and had 7:47 of ice time but didn't return for the third.
Engvall beat Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois in a race to the puck, and from inside the left face-off circle snapped home his seventh of the season through Hellebuyck at 7:15 of the first to open the scoring.
Campbell kept it 1-0 Toronto when he stacked the pads to rob Trevor Lewis, who was set up in front of the net on a cross-ice pass from Harkins in transition.
Appleton tied the game early in the second with his 12th of the year after linemate Adam Lowry forced Morgan Rielly to turn the puck over in front of his own net.
After Lowry got a stick on Rielly's breakout-pass attempt up the middle, Dominic Toninato picked up the loose puck and fed Appleton, who beat Campbell over the glove from in close 1:13 into the period.
Mikheyev restored the lead for Toronto at 5:25 when he came off the sideboards and put in a rebound off a Jake Muzzin point shot that Hellebuyck kicked right to the Leafs forward for his seventh of the season.
Winnipeg's second goal came after another Rielly error, when he was caught pinching and Mark Scheifele and Connor broke out on a 2-on-1.
Scheifele crossed Toronto's blue line and fed Connor, who faked a shot and went forehand to backhand to beat a sliding Campbell for his 25th of the season at 13:52.
Hellebuyck made two big stops late in the second, first on Tavares on a Leafs power play and then another on a streaking Mikheyev with just over a minute to go as Toronto took a 21-20 edge in shots into the third.
Connor gave Winnipeg its first lead with his second of the night, one-timing a pass from captain Blake Wheeler glove side on Campbell 4:21 into the third.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021.