Winnipeg Buries Colorado


WINNIPEG, MB – Blake Wheeler had two goals and an assist while Mark Scheifele had three assists as the Winnipeg Jets won another one.

Patrik Laine scored his 26th of the season and added an assist, Nikolaj Ehlers scored his 22nd, Dustin Byfuglien dished out two assists and had 17 minutes in penalties, Tyler Myers had two assists and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck won his 30th game of the season as the Jets blasted the Colorado Avalanche 6-1 in front of another full house at Bell MTS Place.

Winnipeg Buries Colorado

“We came out really quick and we were on the puck really, really strong,” said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. “Our energy was back. We came out playing at a high level right from the start. We were pretty good right through the bench.”

With the the win, the Jets improved to 34-15-9 and moved into a first-place tie with Nashville atop the Central Division (the Preds have two games in hand). Hellebuyck, meanwhile, stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced and improved to 30-8-0-8. He set the Jets mark for most wins in a season since the team relocated from Atlanta and if he wins Sunday against Florida he’ll tie Kari Lehtonen for the franchise record.

Winnipeg Buries Colorado

Friday night’s game was the eighth game of a season-high 10-game homestand. The Jets are now 4-2-2 in the first eight games with the Panthers heading to Bell MYS Place on Sunday night. The Jets have won two in a row.

The Jets owned this one from the opening faceoff. Wheeler scored the only goal of the first period on a shot from behind the net that deflected in off starting Colorado goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Scheifele and Tony Enstrom drew the assists.

Winnipeg Buries Colorado

Then Kyle Connor with his 19th, Andrew Copp with his fifth and Laine scored in the second to bury the Avalanche under a mountain of goals. Scheifele, who now has six points in his last two games and has had eight three-point nights this season, assisted on the Copp and Laine tallies.

In the third, Ehlers scored from Myers and then Wheeler scored his 16th of the year from Laine and Myers as the Jets took a 6-0 lead.

But Mikko Rantanenn scored an unassisted goal at 14:04 of the final period to ruin Hellebuyck’s bid for his sixth shutout of the year.

Winnipeg Buries Colorado

The Avalanche outshot the Jets 31-28, but Hellebuyck was rock solid throughout. The Jets won 64 per cent of the faceoffs and outhit Colorado 23-16. Scheifele and Enstrom were both plus-three. Myers

The Jets were two-for-five on the power play while Colorado was zero for five. Laine and Wheeler scored power play goals, Copp’s goal came shorthanded and Wheeler, Connor and Ehlers scored at even strength.

Winnipeg Buries Colorado

The Jets will play Game 9 of its 10-game homestand on Sunday night against Florida. Game time is 7 p.m.

Scott Taylor, Manitoba Post

Photos by James Carey Lauder