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Scheifele’s Hat Trick Leads Jets to 8-4 Shellacking of Devils

Photo by Ray Peters

Scheifele’s Hat Trick Leads Jets to 8-4 Shellacking of Devils

Mark Scheifele had two goals in his first 16 games this season. He had five after in his 17th.

Scheifele finished Friday’s Night’s encounter with the New Jersey Devils at Canada Life Centre with three goals and an assist as he led the Jets to an 8-4 victory over the visitors.

It was the fourth hat trick of Scheifele’s career and it came at a time when the Jets were still in one of the worst scoring slumps in its history. It also helped bring the Jets back from a crazy 4-3 deficit in the second period.

Scheifele’s outburst could not have come at a better time. After an impressive 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers back on Nov. 16, the Jets fell into an inexplicable offensive malaise. They went 0-4-1 — including an embarrassing 7-1 loss in Minnesota — over the next five games and scored only five goals on 186 shots. Then they seemed to get it together again in a 4-2 win in Calgary but came back to Winnipeg this past Monday night, outshot Arizona 46-15 and yet lost 1-0.

However, on Friday night, the Jets found the net. Scheifele, who was in the midst of a seven-game scoring drought, scored three while Nikolaj Ehlers had a pair and Adam Lowry, Kristian Veselainen and Josh Morrissey each scored once. The eight-goal outburst tied a National Hockey League season high.

“You just get to the mindset that you’re just going to get to the net, you’re going to do the dirty things, and when you get in a position like that, you just let instincts take over,” Scheifele said. “That’s the fun part of hockey, when you get a little bit of time and space and you get to make a play.”

The Jets made a lot of plays in what was a wild hockey game.

Winnipeg jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the eight-minute mark of the first period as Scheifele scored from Neal Pionk and Blake Wheeler at 1:52, Ehlers scored from Pierre-Luc Dubois and Brenden Dillon at 3:52 and Veselainen scored from Paul Stastny at 7:39.

But then Damon Severson scored a power-play goal for the Devils at 9:08 of the first and the Jets just seemed to fall apart. New Jersey’s Jack Hughes scored at 19:36 to make it 3-2 and then the Devils took the lead at the start of the second period on goals by Nico Hischier at 37 seconds and Ryan Graves at 1:16.

However, the Jets regrouped and started taking the game back to the Devils. Ehlers (from Dubois and Andrew Copp) scored his second of the night and eighth of the season at 10:39 to tie it and then Morrissey (from Wheeler and Schiefele) scored at 15:26 and Scheifele (from Wheeler and Kyle Connor) on the power play at 19:54 as the Jets took a 6-4 lead into the third.

At 9:36 of the third, Scheifele fired a one-timer in stride to record his hat-trick as Wheeler and Connor drew the assists and then Lowry scored at 16:33 from Logan Stanley and Jansen Harkins to put it away.

“You want to help the team any way you can, and a lot of the guys were able to get a point on a goal,” Ehlers said. “Scoring points is fun, there’s no secret to that. But I think, overall, we played a game that gave us a chance to win and we deserve it.”

With the win the Jets improved to 11-8-4 one the season and have now won two of their last three. The Devils lost their third straight and fell to 9-9-4.

Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 33 of 37 shots and drew an assist on Scheifele’s second goal of the night. New Jersey’s Jonathan Bernier gave up six goals on 32 shots before being replaced by MacKenzie Blackwood in the third period. Blackwood made six saves on eight shots as Winnipeg outshot the Devils 40-37 in a wide-open affair.

The Jets went one-for-four on the power play while New Jersey was one-for-two. The Jets outhit the Devils 30-20 and won 63 per cent of the face-offs.

Winnipeg, a team that has have suddenly scored 12 goals in the their last three games despite being shut out in one of them, will play again on Sunday night against the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs. Game time is 7 p.m. at Canada Life Centre.

 

Covered his first junior hockey game for the Sarnia Observer in 1968. Covered his first Jets game for the Winnipeg Free Press in 1980. Still thinks hockey is the bees knees.

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