WINNIPEG - Mark Scheifele 400th career NHL point came at a good time for the Winnipeg Jets, as the forward fired a shot from the slot on the power play with 4:22 to go in regulation to give his team a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Scheifele now has six career goals against the Ducks. Three of those are game winners.
The Jets (18-10-2) finished one-for-three on the man advantage. But a shooter like Scheifele sometimes only needs that one chance, according to Blake Wheeler - the man who set up Scheifele in the slot.
"You get him in the scoring zone, he's one of the best there is," Wheeler said.
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
Ditto, from head coach Paul Maurice.
"There aren't many guys in the world that can get that shot off from that spot."
Scheifele finished the night with two goals (his 12th and 13th of the season), while Adam Lowry rounded out the scoring with his third of the season.
Connor Hellebuyck ended the night with 31 saves and is now 8-1-0 when coming off a loss of any kind this season. In those nine games, he has a save percentage of 0.957.
"I'm glad the team is playing as well as it is and we're in the spot that we're at," said Hellebuyck. "It was a hard fought game. Kind of feeling each other out early and maybe a bit loose, I thought we got better as the game went on and we showed it at the end. The grit and the battle in our game is great. The way that ended was perfect."
A pretty passing play got the offence going for the Jets, who are now 6-1-1 in their last eight home games.
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
The three-way sequence began with Mathieu Perreault on the right-wing side finding Kyle Connor in the middle off the rush. Quickly, Connor flipped a backhand pass to Scheifele coming up his off wing. His quick one-timer beat John Gibson putting the Jets up 1-0.
That lead didn't last long though, as Jakob Silfverberg took a Rickard Rakell pass from below the goal line and popped it over Hellebuyck's blocker 32 seconds after the Scheifele goal.
It stayed that way until late in the second, when Lowry lifted his third of the season over John Gibson's left shoulder. Andrew Copp fed Lowry in the right circle, where Lowry's shot came with Rakell working to get at his stick.
Perreault also picked up an assist on the play, his second of the night.
"Just prior to the Adam Lowry goal, that display of transition from both teams in the neutral zone was how I felt about the game tonight," said Maurice with a grin. "There were a lot of simpler things that could have happened, that didn't. We broke one loose for entry, made three or four real nice passes to get it in."
Video: POSTGAME | Connor Hellebuyck
The Jets had a couple chances to extend the lead early in the third, but Gibson stood tall long enough for Anaheim to find the equalizer.
Troy Terry found space behind the Jets defence but couldn't ram home an open look. Devin Shore got to the loose puck and had it pop in the air, then off the pad of a sprawling Hellebuyck and in with 11:56 to go in regulation.
But that was the last puck to beat Hellebuyck, even as the Ducks poured on the pressure and the Jets goaltender at one point had to make a stop without a goal stick in his hands.
"I made sure I said 'no stick!' I didn't want a stick. I'd rather the D-man have it because he can more with it than I can," Hellebuyck said. "We both battled for the rebound and he kind of just came through my stick. I wasn't going to get hung up because there was an extra attacker, so I need to cover the net. I just let it go."
Plays like that helped Scheifele's power play marker hold up as the winner. The Jets killed off a late penalty to Lowry, capping off a perfect night on the penalty kill.
With the victory, the Jets are now 12-2-2 in one-goal games.
"We've been on a nice little roll here. The way we came back in the Dallas game, you want to win every game, but that one sure doesn't feel like a loss. If we come out of there 2-0, that's a deflating one," said Wheeler.
"The resiliency of our team, that's what we've built on all year. That's been our foundation coming into games and having that compete level every single night. From there, the plays will work themselves out."