WINNIPEG - Trailing the Washington Capitals 3-1 in the third period, and staring a third straight loss on home ice in the face, the Winnipeg Jets (33-15-9) flipped the script.
Bryan Little got the Jets within one with 8:30 left in the third, and with his team shorthanded, Mark Scheifele notched his second of the game with 14.4 seconds to go in regulation, sending Bell MTS Place into a frenzy.
But the Jets weren't done.
In overtime, Scheifele drove wide on Alexander Ovechkin, and threaded a pass to Tyler Myers driving the middle of the ice. Myers made no mistake, beating Braden Holtby for the 4-3 come-from-behind win.
Video: POSTGAME | Jets 4, Capitals 3 - F/OT
"Myers made a good play to beat the first guy. Ovi looked a little flat-footed so I thought I'd try him," said Scheifele. "He's a big dude, so trying to get around him is tough. I looked to my right and saw Myers driving down the seam. It was great awareness by him."
Video: WSH@WPG: Myers hammers home the OT winner
The loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday was the first time the Jets had lost in regulation when opening the scoring on home ice. With the Central Division getting tighter, and significant injuries up front and on the blue line, the win meant that much more to captain Blake Wheeler.
"We're banged up. We're missing some really key pieces. The last two games have been pretty dead in here, understandably," said Wheeler. "We have a young team that now has almost an equal amount of guys that have spent a lot of time in the minor leagues as NHL guys it feels like. Somebody has to up the enthusiasm a little bit.
"We lose (Matt Hendricks), he's a guy that does it every game. I thought Scheif brought it. Buff brings it. I had to up that part of it a little bit tonight to try to rally the guys. Score a shorthanded goal to tie the game, no matter if it's November or June, it feels pretty good. We're excited about the fact we were able to come back there."
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
Scheifele's first goal since returning from his upper-body injury opened the scoring for the Jets, but it was made possible by a nifty play at the blue line from Dustin Byfuglien.
Video: WSH@WPG: Scheifele tallies late game-tying SHG
Pinching to keep the offensive pressure on, Byfuglien backhanded a loose puck off the boards, then spun around to avoid a check from Andre Burakovsky. The move created some open ice, which Byfuglien used to send a backhand pass in front, where Scheifele was waiting to swat home a rebound.
"Obviously every game I'm feeling better and every shift I'm feeling better," said Scheifele, who now has two goals and four points since his return three days ago. "When you're playing with a guy like Wheels, it's pretty easy. He's pretty consistent for you. He's making the right reads, and the right plays over and over. It makes it easy for me to get my timing back.
"I'm definitely very happy with that one."
But for the second straight game, a late goal in the first period would kill the Jets momentum. After Kyle Connor's clearing attempt didn't get over the blue line, Ovechkin sent the puck in front, and Nick Backstrom found the rebound, spinning and tucking a forehand shot just inside the right post.
Video: WSH@WPG: Little unloads heavy wrist shot past Holtby
The two teams would trade chances in the second period, but it would be Washington that would grab the lead.
Off the rush, Lars Eller sent a wrist shot on Hellebuyck from the top of the circle, but the Jets goaltender couldn't corral the rebound. Burakovsky - following the play down the left win - was in the right spot at the right time, and was able to slide the rebound past Hellebuyck before he could get across.
John Carlson would extend the lead to 3-1 just over seven minutes into the third. The veteran defenceman's 10th of the season came as he pinched and one-timed a corner pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov.
"We had a lot of parts of that game that we didn't like," said Scheifele. "To show that resiliency to fight to the buzzer, shows a lot about this group.
"We needed that one."
Video: WSH@WPG: Scheifele cleans up in front to take lead
Late in the second period, Maurice switched up his forward lines, putting Jack Roslovic alongside Little and Perreault.
The move paid off in the third.
Little and his new winger Roslovic drove up the ice, and Roslovic fed Little in the slot, and before Holtby could get set, Little had whipped it by him on the stick side. The Jets were down by one with 8:30 to go.
"He set me up for a goal, so I can't complain. He's a fast player, and he has a lot of skill. It didn't take me long to realize out there tonight that it's pretty easy playing with him," said Little. "He's on the puck hard, he forechecks, that's when you get pucks back. That allowed us to play in their end a little bit. He has the skill to make those plays."
Video: POSTGAME | Bryan Little
Then, with time winding down and Byfuglien in the box for slashing, the Jets were able to get the puck down the ice. Hellebuyck left his net for the extra skater, and after a furious forecheck, Mathieu Perreault got the puck to Wheeler at the point.
Wheeler's shot hit some skates in front, ended up on Scheifele's stick, and with a bit of patience, he was able to slide it through Holtby to tie the game.
"That was a lot of hard work," said Scheifele. "Wheels gets on the forecheck, and makes sure Carlson doesn't get a clean pass. I get on it. (Perreault) gets on the puck and gets a shot.
"From there, I was happy to be the one to put it in."
Video: WSH@WPG: Hellebuyck's sliding pad save on Backstrom
Scheifele was second only to Wheeler in ice time for forwards - Scheifele finished at 23:40, while Wheeler had 24:07. On the back end, Byfuglien (27:57) and Myers (23:58) did the heavy lifting.
Head coach Paul Maurice was happy to see "drivers" like them, and others, get the pay off for their work.
"They just drove it. Good leadership won us that game," said Maurice.
"We got to a real good emotional level in that game. We kind of built to it. We needed a game like that, where you didn't just take it, you fought back and then had a good result on that. It was good that the guys who made it happen were the guys that were driving all night."
Matt Hendricks left the game in the second period after taking a hit from Madison Bowey (who was called for interference on the play).
Maurice said the forward is getting checked out, and the team would know more tomorrow.