TAMPA, FLORIDA - Two games and two wins.
That's how the Winnipeg Jets (12-8-1) have started a four-game road trip, the second of those wins came Saturday afternoon over the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-6-2) by a score of 4-3.
"I thought we were on them. We didn't give them any easy ice. That's a team that if you give them time and space, they're going to make you pay for it," said Wheeler, who finished with two assists in the game, the first of which was his 400th assist as a member of the Jets.
"I thought we did a great job of gapping tight on them, eliminating some of the plays they make up the ice," he said. "It looked like we had them on their heels most of the night."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
Mathieu Perreault, Jack Roslovic, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Kyle Connor had the Jets goals in the victory which moved the Jets to 7-3-0 on the road and 9-1-1 in one-goal games.
"We know we play a strong defensive game, we wait for our chances. We've got guys that can finish," said Perreault.
"We defend hard and capitalize on our chances."
It didn't take long for the Jets offence to get started as Perreault tipped a Josh Morrissey point shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy just 1:59 into the game.
"Yesterday in practice I might have worked for 20 minutes just on tipping pucks. I might have tipped 100 pucks yesterday sitting net front," said Perreault. "It's something I've worked on a lot lately. That's what I take pride in. My last three goals have been tips, so it's working for me."
That lead lasted until the final minute of the opening period, when a turnover in the Jets zone led to a Victor Hedman shot from the high slot. Connor Hellebuyck made the initial stop, but Steven Stamkos was able to corral it, send a backhand through the crease and off the far post, where Hedman was to poke it home.
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
While three pucks did get by him, Hellebuyck was solid throughout the night. The best of his 31 saves came late in the third period, when he robbed Ondrej Palat on a point blank chance with an incredible glove save.
"That might be my save of the year. Then I go and get scored on after, so shoot," Hellebuyck said with a laugh. "I see the guy alone in front and he's going to rip it. A hope and a prayer at that point.
"I thought we played a good game. I thought we played our pace and really drove the game into them."
Roslovic gave the Jets the lead back 7:18 into the second. Perched just outside the Tampa Bay crease, Roslovic shovelled home his fourth of the season off a backhand from Andrew Copp below the goal line.
The Lightning challenged for a game stoppage, but the goal was upheld, putting the Jets on the power play.
On that man advantage, Ehlers wired home his ninth of the season to put the Jets up 3-1.
Video: POSTGAME | Connor Hellebuyck
The Jets power play finished one-for-three, but also held Tampa's league-leading power play off the board on two opportunities.
"It's only two, which is really important that we don't get into a big number against this team. It might have been the strongest technical part of our game. We were good," said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. "Some good entry kills, some real good aggressiveness, shot blocks - Luca Sbisa has kind of brought that to our group - and a couple of big saves.
"You go back to just after the Anaheim game and we're actually a good penalty killing team right now. That's a real confidence booster."
Video: POSTGAME | Mathieu Perreault
The 3-1 lead stayed intact until the final three minutes, when Stamkos hammered a one-timer past Hellebuyck for his 400th career NHL goal with 2:16 left on the clock.
Connor added an empty netter and Anthony Cirelli scored with 22 seconds left to round out the scoring.
"It was a great game through all three periods," said Perreault. "We made it a little more interesting than it needed to be at the end, but it was a great game. Bucky made some great saves again. Everyone is chipping in and working hard and getting results."