WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- — Kyle Connor scored twice and the Winnipeg Jets spoiled Dominique Ducharme's debut as Montreal's coach, rallying to beat the Canadiens 6-3 on Thursday night to open a two-game series.
The Jets rallied after Montreal took a 2-0 lead into the second period.
“I think there’s no panic in this room if we’re down two. We’ve got the type of talent that can score in bunches and when we play the right way, it’s fun to watch and it’s fun to be a part of,” Connor said. “I think this is one of the best groups we’ve had in a while. It’s pretty exciting on this team."
Nate Thompson scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists, and Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist. Connor Hellebuyck made 18 saves.
“I don’t think we want to make a habit of it, but it’s nice to know that we’re confident in having that kind of deficit during a game and be able to claw our way back and know that we can score some goals and come back and win the game," Thompson said.
The Jets have won three in a row to improve to 12-6-1.
Montreal fired coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller on Wednesday, promoting Ducharme to interim head coach.
“I think I saw the guys playing better in the first half of the game, and then we cracked,” said Ducharme said, who joined the team’s staff in 2018 after 10 seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “So, we’ve got to be playing the same way as we started.”
The Canadiens have lost four straight to fall to 9-6-4.
“It’s shocking obviously,” Montreal goalie Carey Price said. “We’ve got some changes to make that we’ll address here coming up. It’s a work in progress.”
The teams will meet again Saturday night.