Winnipeg Jets 2 Colorado Avalanche 1 OT – (Jets 18-18-5, 9-10-1 on road) – It was the Jets 23rd one-goal game of the season and 12th game that has gone to overtime. Nine of the previous 11 went to a shootout. In the games that ended in the five minute overtime, the Jets lost in Nashville, won in Tampa and came out victorious in this game.
In Tampa it was Mark Scheifele scoring with the assist to Blake Wheeler; tonight it was Wheeler set up by Scheifele, with Dustin Byfuglien also assisting (his team leading 22nd assist of the year). It was the first time since November 25/27 that the Jets won back-to-back games.
The game was scoreless through 40 minutes with both Al Montoya and Semyon Varlamov making a number of great saves. Shots after 40 minutes favoured the Jets 22-17.
Andrew Ladd opened the scoring at 11:42 with his 10th of the year, converting a nice feed from Wheeler. Jacob Trouba also drew an assist. But 29 seconds later Nathan MacKinnon, with his ninth, tied it. His shot went off the stick of Mark Stuart, off the leg of Zach Bogosian and past Montoya. The Avs outshot the Jets 12-11 in the third, and 5-4 in overtime. The winning goal officially came at 4:58 of the overtime, but actually came with 1.3 seconds left on the clock. Byfuglien kept the puck in at the line and Scheifele spotted Wheeler who redirected it through Varlamov for the winner, with Byfuglien causing havoc in front of the net. It was Wheeler's second game-winner in as many games.
The assist by Scheifele was his 13th of the year, tying him for the league lead among rookies. The goal by Wheeler gives him a team-leading 15 on the season. He has now scored eight in the last nine games and is 6-7-13 in eight career games against the Avs. Trouba led the team in ice time at 25:25, Ladd led in shots with five.
For Montoya it was his seventh win of the year; his career-high for one season is nine. Montoya has now won his last four starts and is 5-0 in his last five decisions.
Considering the Jets travel issues going into Denver on Saturday (nine-hour mechanical delay), and no morning skate, the Jets played one of their best defensive games of the year.
“It was a well-played game,” stated coach Claude Noel. “We had a bit of a slow start but the Wright, Tangradi, Peluso line got us going. It was a tough goal that tied it, but we stuck with it. Stayed focused and never got rattled. We had a lot of good performances.”
The Jets close out the 2013 part of their schedule at MTS Centre Tuesday against Buffalo (TSN National, TSN 1290), then head to Ottawa, Boston and Pittsburgh for a three game Eastern Conference trip.