OTTAWA - On a night when all the focus was on one Ontario product playing against his old team two days after being traded, another member of the Winnipeg Jets from the same province earned the spotlight by the end of the game.
Mark Scheifele, born five hours away in Kingston, notched his third career hat trick and added an assist in a 5-1 road-trip opening win over the Ottawa Senators.
"It's not about goals, it's not about assists. It's about playing the right game," said Scheifele. "You get your chances, you watch your games over so you know what to fix and what to work on. That's what it's all about. You continue to work on your game whether you're scoring or you're not. The main focus is winning games here."
Video: HELMET PRES | Mark Scheifele
Along with Scheifele's four-point performance (giving him six points in his last two games), three other Jets also had multi-point efforts. Neal Pionk and Patrik Laine each had two assists, while Kyle Connor had a goal and an assist in the victory.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice was happy to see Scheifele's hard work get rewarded.
"We're not talking about a player who wasn't contributing, or wasn't all around it, Maurice said of Scheifele, who hadn't scored in 12 games. "He has been You know with a player like that, it's going to come. But you want it for him so he can settle back in.
"He's earned it. He's certainly played well for us."
After Nick Paul opened the scoring for the Senators with 8:10 left in the first period, the Jets power play turned the momentum in a hurry.
The Jets (32-25-5) pulled even on their first power play of the night, though. Connor's shot from the slot was partially blocked by Nikita Zaitsev in front, but Scheifele was right there to retrieve it and rip it past Marcus Hogberg to tie the game.
Video: POSTGAME | Mark Scheifele
It was Scheifele's first goal since January 19, but Connor had a feeling it was coming sooner than later for his long-time teammate.
"He's had so many chances. It was just a matter of time. It's good to get him going. He's our leader and one of our best players," said Connor.
"Honestly, I didn't think his game changed too much. He still has such an impact on the game."
He wasn't done yet though, as he notched his second of the game just 1:11 later on Winnipeg's second power play. Scheifele deflected Neal Pionk's wrist shot past Hogberg for his 25th of the season, and a 2-1 Jets lead.
Video: WPG@OTT: Scheifele beats Hogberg for PPG
The Jets power play finished three-for-six on the night, while the penalty kill was a perfect four-for-four.
Dylan DeMelo, making his Jets debut against his former team, felt he settled in after the first period and finished the game with 18:36 of ice time including 3:18 on the penalty kill.
"We won some draws. When you win some draws and start with possession and throw it down, you're erasing 20-30 seconds. We had a couple good stands at the line. We made it hard on their entries," said DeMelo, who also gave a nod to goaltender Laurent Brossoit, who made 29 saves in the win.
"Your goaltender has to be a key part of your penalty kill. We did great job top to bottom."
Video: WPG@OTT: Scheifele deflects home PPG
Connor extended the Jets' lead 4:52 into the second when he pounced on a loose puck in front of a scrambling Hogberg, giving the Michigan forward his 30th of the season.
It's the third straight campaign that Connor has hit that mark.
"We played great. Our power play really got us going," said Connor. "We didn't come out too hot. The second period, we really took over the game."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
Nikolaj Ehlers kept the offence rolling 62 seconds later, when he took advantage of a puck kicked toward the Ottawa net by defenceman Ron Hainsey. Ehlers poked it through Hogberg for his 22nd of the season and now has goals in consecutive games.
Scheifele completed the hat trick in the third, when his wrist shot from the high slot banked off a leg in front of the Ottawa net with 1:33 to go in regulation time.
"It's always nice to score. I was definitely getting the chances," said Scheifele. "It was a great team win for us and a nice way to start the road trip.