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Jets score twice on the power play, but fall to Wild in overtime

Scheifele, Wheeler score; Pionk hits new career-high in points

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

ST. PAUL - Two power play goals and a perfect penalty kill through 60 minutes weren't enough for the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon, as they gave up a power play goal in overtime to fall 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild.

With Blake Wheeler in the penalty box for slashing, Eric Staal poked home a loose puck in the crease after a Ryan Suter point shot 1:52 into the extra period.

The officials reviewed the play for goaltender interference - and the Jets may have had a case with Zach Parise in tight making contact with Connor Hellebuyck - but the call was upheld.

"It seemed like there was a lot going on in Hellebuyck's crease there," said Josh Morrissey. "It's one of those plays where I don't know if it's a grey area call or not. Obviously on our side we're going to side with our goaltender and think there was a a little interference. At the end of the day, those are out of your control. You just have to move on and get on to the next game."

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

Wheeler and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets (22-16-4) in regulation, with both markers coming on the man advantage which finished two-for-five on the night.

But the Jets were unable to hold a 2-1 third period lead they earned on Wheeler's power play goal in the opening minute of the final frame.

The Wild (20-17-5) outshot Winnipeg 16-4 in the final 20 minutes and 44-21 overall.

"We didn't get it off the wall enough and get enough deep penetration, we were probably hanging on a bit," said head coach Paul Maurice. "They may have a slight advantage in having three days rest and I think they had better legs than us in the second half of the third, and hands. But we weathered it for the most part and got it to overtime."

Minnesota got on the board 1:12 into the opening period, when Marcus Foligno finished off a three-way passing play off the rush, tapping home a backdoor pass from Joel Eriksson-Ek for his fifth of the season.

Winnipeg responded early in the second period on the power play. Wheeler showed incredible patience on the half wall, moving up and down in the zone until he found the seam he was looking for and hit Scheifele on the tape for a one-timer on the far side. Scheifele made no mistake on his 20th of the season - the fifth season in a row he's hit that mark. 

Video: POSTGAME | Josh Morrissey

He's behind only Wheeler (six) and Ilya Kovalchuk (eight) for consecutive 20-goal seasons in franchise history.

"The power play was really good. The first two periods were pretty good," said Wheeler. "The third period after we went up by a goal, they pushed really hard. We just didn't do a good enough job of tilting the ice back in their direction, getting some pucks in deep, generating a forecheck, stopping that momentum."

It stayed tied at one until the first minute of the third period, when another Jets power play chance found the back of the net.

The Jets started the period on the man advantage and worked the puck around the Wild zone until Kyle Connor found some space below the goal line to Devan Dubnyk's right. Connor quickly moved around the net and fed Wheeler in the right face-off dot. The Jets captain wired it past Dubnyk's blocker side into the very top corner to give the Jets a 2-1 lead.

The Jets now have 13 goals on the power play in the last 12 games and have been clicking at a 33 per cent clip since December 8.

"Our power play has been starting to feel it for a while now. We're starting to see goals go in consistently. Everyone knew that was going to happen with the players on that unit," said Morrissey.

"For our PK, it's disappointing that the last one ends up being a power play goal for Minnesota. There is a lot there, especially five-on-four, that we can build off of - big blocked shots and high level compete by the guys that are out there."

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

But with 5:30 left in regulation, Minnesota's Luke Kunin beat Hellebuyck on a turn-around wrist shot from the high slot to pull the Wild even.

Shortly before the goal, Morrissey was hit into the boards and had to leave the game briefly, but did return.

"I got bumped or something like that. It didn't feel great. I took a couple seconds to collect myself and I was fine to go again," said Morrissey.

"I didn't see it. I felt like it's something that could be called. But it's a fast game… Maybe the refs were obstructed and couldn't see it.

"Over the course of the game there is a lot of stuff that gets called and doesn't get called - nothing you can do."

After Wheeler's slashing penalty on an attempted back check on Mats Zuccarello, the Wild took advantage.

Suter's slap shot got through the Jets penalty killers and Staal came in late to backhand it home.

The Jets now head to Montreal for the second stop on a four-game road trip.

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