Despite all the injuries, all the roster changes and all the call-ups and send-downs, the Winnipeg Jets just keep finding ways to win.
Sunday afternoon in front of a raucous full house at Bell MTS Place, Mark Scheifele, sitting in his usual spot right in the slot, ripped home a pass from Blake Wheeler at the 15:38 mark of the third period to give the Jets a 3-2 victory over the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
It was just another average Sunday afternoon in Winnipeg. Scheifele recorded his 400th career point, Connor Hellebuyck picked up his league-leading 15th win of the season and Nikolaj Ehlers fought Ryan Getzlaf. Yep, Ehlers (6-foot, 170) fought Getzlaf (6-foot-3, 230). Go figure.
With the win, the Jets improved to 18-10-2 on the season, good for third in the Central Division and fourth overall in the West. The Jets are now 13-6-1 against the Western Conference this season, the most wins against the West in the NHL.
The winning goal was Scheifele’s second of the game and 13th of the season. Back in the first period, he opened the scoring at the 9:02 mark, banging home a feed from Mathieu Perreault.
However, the Ducks answered quickly as Jacob Silfverberg tied it up for Anaheim with his 11th of the campaign at 9:34.
The highlight of the period came late, when an angry and frustrated Nikolaj Ehlers had enough of the slashing and hooking of Ryan Getzlaf and the smaller Jet decided too take on the gigantic Duck. It was the third fight of Ehlers career and while he didn’t win, things could have been much. His previous two fights were contested at smaller weight classes — against Tyson Barrie and Colton Sissons.
“Same weight class, right?” laughed Ehlers. “No, I had a bad period and couldn’t really get it going. Sometimes you have to try something different. Right before it all happened, everybody was yelling ‘No!’ from the bench. But that’s how it goes sometimes. It felt pretty good.”
The Jets made it 2-1 with the only goal of the second period as Adam Lowry flipped a shot over the shoulder of Ducks goaltender John Gibson at 18:09 as Andrew Copp and Perreault drew the assists.
In the third period, Anaheim got the equalizer at 8:04 when Devin Shore banged home a loose puck in the crease, but on the power play, Scheifele, with the 400th point of his NHL career — the second fastest in Thrashers/Jets franchise history behind Ilya Kovalchuk — tallied the eventual winner with less that five minutes to play.
After that, Jets goaltender and the game’s first star, Connor Hellebuyck shut the door on the Ducks. Hellebuyck made 31 saves to get his league-leading 15th win of the season.
The Jets and Ducks each had 33 shots and both teams won 50 per cent of the face-offs. The Ducks outhit the Jets 20-17 and blocked 19 shots while the Jets blocked 14. Scheifele had the best stats line: two goals, two points, two shots and two blocked shots in 23 minutes of ice time.
The Jets play again open Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings. The start time is 7 p.m.