WINNIPEG – Rookie Sam Reinhart picked up his first career NHL hat trick against the Winnipeg Jets (19-20-3) to help his Buffalo Sabres (16-22-4) to a 4-2 win at MTS Centre on Sunday. The victory not only snaps Buffalo’s six-game slide but also hands Winnipeg it’s second straight loss.
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Reinhart opened the scoring early in the first period by beating Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck glove side with a wrist shot for his tenth goal of the season. He later used a power play to notch his second of the frame and put Buffalo back in front after Blake Wheeler evened things up with his team leading 41st point. Wheeler’s goal marks his first in exactly a month. He had gone 12 straight games without finding the back of the net.
Mathieu Perreault put away a rebound in the second period on a man-advantage to make it a 2-2 game. Bryan Little grabbed his second assist of the game on the play.
Buffalo retook the lead in the third by scoring two unanswered goals. Hellebuyck gave up a huge rebound off a Brian Gionta shot allowing Marcus Foligno to put away the game-winner. Reinhart added his third of the match in the final minute by hitting an empty net.
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The game was Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian’s first in Winnipeg since being traded to Buffalo last February. Kane, who was the subject of many taunts, finished the game with an assist. Bogosian was left pointless but logged two shots, four hits and 23:23 of ice time.
Jets forward Mark Scheifele did not suit up against the Sabres. He was a game-time decision with a lower-body injury. Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice expects Scheifele to play the next game. Perreault’s status meanwhile is up in the air after a second period collision with Sabres defenceman Jake McCabe. Perreault went to the dressing room following the hit. He returned for the third period but was in a considerable amount of pain every shift he took.
Winnipeg continues its three-game home stand Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks.