Connor Brown, Senators look to complete two-game sweep of Jets

NHL Hockey

After a comeback victory Monday, the seemingly unstoppable Connor Brown and last-place Ottawa Senators look to defeat the visiting Winnipeg Jets again in Wednesday’s rematch.

The Jets held a 2-0 lead within the first nine minutes of Monday’s game, but goals from Brady Tkachuk and Brown equalized things for Ottawa before the first period was through. Those were the first two of four unanswered goals from the Senators in an eventual 4-2 result.

“I think in almost everything that we did, we weren’t executing anywhere near the way I think we can,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said after the defeat, which broke his team’s three-game winning streak. “Get the list of things that happen in a hockey game, we weren’t very good at any (of them).”

The Jets are still 3-1-1 in the month of April, holding on to the second spot in the North Division.

Ottawa snapped a four-game losing streak that began with a 4-3 loss in Winnipeg on April 5.

Even though 21 points separate the Jets and Senators in the standings, Ottawa looked more like the playoff-bound squad on Monday.

“I thought all four lines contributed,” said Brown, who scored in his eighth consecutive game, a Senators team record and the longest goals streak in the NHL this season.

There have been only 46 goal-scoring streaks of nine or more games in league history, and none since Teemu Selanne’s 11-game streak during the 1996-97 season.

Still, it was the victory that encouraged Brown, who has 14 goals on the season.

“We’ve played good games before that leading up, against real top-end teams that are ready to win (Stanley) Cups now, and we’re making plays right with them,” he said. “We’re not just hanging on by a thread, relying on our goalie. We’re in the games; we’re going play-for-play with them.”

While not quite in the realm of Brown’s achievement, Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers is on a three-game goal streak in his own right. The forward has six points (three goals, three assists) over a four-game points streak.

Since the Jets also play on Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit are likely to split goaltending duties over the back-to-back games. Hellebuyck could be saved to face the first-place Leafs, so backup goalie Brossoit appears more likely to start against the Senators.

Brossoit is 5-3-0 in nine games this season, with a .914 save percentage and 2.63 goals against average. One of Brossoit’s wins came against Ottawa, when he stopped 38 of 41 shots in a 4-3 overtime victory for Winnipeg on Jan. 19.

For Ottawa, Anton Forsberg stopped 24 of 26 shots on Monday and will likely be back in net on Wednesday. Forsberg has started five of the Senators’ last six games, emerging as their top goaltending choice with Matt Murray still sidelined.

Tkachuk scored two goals on Monday, including a power-play marker in the first period. The Senators are 5-for-16 on the power play over their last seven games, after struggling with the extra attacker for much of the season.

The Jets are 5-2-0 against the Senators this season.

Mark Scheifele has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) over the last 10 games, while Ehlers (three goals, seven assists) has been equally productive over that same stretch.

–Field Level Media

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