WINNIPEG - Patience is a virtue, as the old saying goes.
The Winnipeg Jets proved that tonight against the Minnesota Wild. Despite falling behind 2-0 in the first 13:54, the Winnipeg Jets remained calm, then exploded for seven unanswered goals to run their point streak at home to nine games (8-0-1), thanks to a 7-2 win.
Video: POSTGAME | Jets 7, Wild 2 - F
Seven different goal scorers helped the Jets to the win, their third straight over the Wild this season. But captain Blake Wheeler - whose line combined for nine points on the night - said it wasn't his trio that got things going.
"The (Matt) Hendricks line with (Joel) Armia and (Mathieu) Perreault, they've been playing great for us. They've been playing with a ton of energy," said Wheeler. "They made a great play. They got us going. Got a little bit of the momentum on our side, and we closed out that period strong. A lot of times they get overlooked for the energy they bring, and they had a great night tonight and got us going."
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
Armia scored the momentum-changing goal, while Perreault added one of his own (his fifth since returning from injury on Nov. 16). Hendricks also chipped in with an assist.
"I think Armia has been great at getting the pucks down low. The pass he made to me, that was a great play," said Perreault. "Hendy is a hard working guy, I work hard, so I think it's a combination of all of us.
"If we can bring that energy to follow the way we play, it's great for our line. Hopefully we can keep doing that."
It didn't start out so easy.
Minnesota opened the scoring off a Jets turnover in the neutral zone. Charlie Coyle skated up the right wing on an odd-man rush, sliding a pass to Jason Zucker alone in front of Connor Hellebuyck. Zucker moved to his backhand and lifted a shot over Hellebuyck's pad to extend his personal point streak to four games.
A coach's challenge from Paul Maurice prevented the Wild from going up 2-0, but only for just over a minute. Chris Stewart took a cross crease pass from Matt Cullen after the Wild won a puck battle behind the Jets net, and launched a wrist shot top corner for his seventh of the season.
"We were down two, and I didn't think we had a bad start. The first four chances of the game were ours," said Maurice. "What you need is guys who don't play 20 minutes a night, but have played really well for you, do what they did.
"I think things got rolling for us pretty good after that."
Video: MIN@WPG: Perreault roofs one-timer from hash marks
Did it ever.
The Jets would cut that deficit in half before the end of the first, and it started with winning a puck battle along the wall. Some strong work from Perreault and Hendricks led to the puck getting to Josh Morrissey at the point. His shot was deflected on the way by Hendricks, and Armia was there to clean up the rebound.
"I liked our game. I think we worked hard and got pretty good chances, and had two goals today, so it was good," said Armia.
"I think we just played our own game. We did what we always do, just worked hard."
Then with Kyle Quincey in the box for cross-checking, the Jets power play would tie the game. As he's done a few times this season, Blake Wheeler sent a beautiful saucer pass over the sticks of the penalty killers, right on to the tape of Mark Scheifele on the far side.
Before Alex Stalock could get across the crease, the puck was in.
Video: MIN@WPG: Scheifele cranks home Wheeler's dish for PPG
Wheeler and Scheifele are tied for the team lead in points with 28, but the number that matters most to Wheeler is the 15 in the win column.
"You want to find a way to contribute to wins. That's all that matters. We've been a part of a lot of losses where we've contributed and lost, and it's an empty feeling," said Wheeler.
"Even on the road, those two (wins) in Anaheim and LA, we didn't have anything. But it feels just as good as it does tonight, because there's so much that goes into a hockey game than scoring points."
The Jets grabbed their first lead of the game with 9:03 left in the second. In just over the Wild blue line, Andrew Copp slipped a nifty pass under Quincey's stick to a streaking Scheifele. Number 55 drew the Wild's other defenceman, Gustav Olofsson, to him, before finding Jacob Trouba coming in late. Trouba's one-timer from just inside the hashmarks beat a diving Stalock for the defenceman's second goal of the campaign.
Video: MIN@WPG: Trouba buries wrister past a diving Stalock
The lead grew to 5-2 in the third period, when the Winnipeg power play found twine for the second time. Wheeler drove the net, and when his initial shot was stopped, the loose puck bounced into the slot, where Kyle Connor was to swat home a backhand.
"They're a really tough hockey team," said Wheeler. "These are typically one-goal games, grind them games. We just caught them on their heels a little bit tonight, and got a few good bounces."
Just 65 seconds later, Ben Chiarot found an open shot lane, and sent a perfect slap pass to Bryan Little, who was all alone in front of Stalock for the deflection. It was his fourth of the season, and put the Jets up 6-2.
Wheeler would round out the scoring, when on a two-on-one, his pass intended for Scheifele banked off the skate of defenceman Jonas Brodin and past Stalock.
The Jets are now 7-1-1 when coming off a loss this season.
"The coaching staff does an outstanding job of communicating what each game is going to look like," said Wheeler. "I don't think we come into this game tonight, having come home from the west coast yesterday, looking to be up 5-0 after the first period. It's OK to be in a one-goal game, a tight game, even if you're down a goal. It's OK. That's a huge emphasis. You don't have to blow the doors off every team in every period."
Next up for the Jets is a quick one-game trip to Colorado to take on the Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.