Player of the Week | Kyle Connor
Kyle Connor posted a six-point week featuring two overtime goals, moving into a tie for the rookie lead in goals, all while helping the Winnipeg Jets to close out a perfect week with a playoff berth.
March 19-26, 2018
4-2–6 over 3 GP
Scored 2 OT, game-winning goals
Scored 29th goal of 2017-18 (T-1 among rookies)
While he may not receive as much praise as some of his talented teammates, or fellow rookies around the league, Kyle Connor continues to build on an exceptional first full season the NHL.
Connor proved to be the clutch performer last week in posting back-to-back overtime game-winning goals to help the Winnipeg Jets close out a perfect three games and clinch a playoff berth.
Connor (4-2–6) scored his 29th goal of the season Sunday night and rose in the rookie goal-scoring ranks to tie Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks for the overall lead in the category – while his 50 points of 2017-18 place him fifth among those contending for the Calder Memorial Trophy (following Mathew Barzal, Clayton Keller, Yanni Gourde, and Boeser).
Tuesday night's matchup against the Los Angeles Kings continued their six-game homestand at Bell MTS Place. The 2015 first round draft pick netted the 2-1 game-winning overtime tally 1:37 into overtime as part a two-goal night.
Connor's timely heroics not only earned him first star of the game honours, but praise from Jets team captain, Blake Wheeler.
"Everything goes under the radar when you play for Winnipeg," spoke Wheeler to reporters of Connor postgame. "He's been one of the huge X-factors for our team. Him stepping into our lineup and contributing at the rate he's contributed at, it's a huge reason why we sit where we are today. He was a guy that you had high hopes for coming into the year, but obviously a little bit of a question mark. You didn't really know what you were going to get. He's taken the opportunity that he's got this year and done a great job."
The Anaheim Ducks landed in Winnipeg Friday night, where overtime was once again needed as the Jets emerged victorious in a 3-2 win. While Connor gave the home crowd a welcome sense of déjà vu with another overtime game-winner, Winnipeg reached the 100-point mark for the first time in franchise history by picking up two points. Connor’s second overtime-winner in as many games placed him in the NHL record books, becoming only the second rookie in NHL history to score in overtime of consecutive regular season team games (also Andrew Cogliano – 2007-08 with Edmonton).
Connor closed out his week by netting first star of the game honours once more in yet another Jets victory decided outside of regulation. With the Nashville Predators in town Sunday night, the rookie posted a three-point night (1-2–3) which included his 29th goal of the season and an assist on Wheeler's game-tying goal in the dying seconds of the third period. Mark Scheifele scored the decisive shootout-winner in the 5-4 victory as the Jets officially clinched their playoff berth.
Only one player in the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise has scored more goals than Connor in a rookie season – current teammate Patrik Laine (36 in 2016-17).
The 21-year-old looks to build on a three-game point streak over the seven remaining games on the season to match the mark when the Jets return to action Tuesday to welcome the Boston Bruins at Bell MTS Place.