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Wheeler, Scheifele & Perreault lead Jets to victory

Trio combines for eight points; Hutchinson stops 24 in 3-2 final

by Ryan Dittrick @ryandittrick / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - They're what Head Coach Paul Maurice refers to as the "drivers."

They're the letters, the pace and the pulse - the Pied Pipers of the Winnipeg Jets - each and every night over the course of this 82-game grind.

Tonight, of course, was no exception.

In a game that needed a boost, and to give the 15,294 on hand something to cheer for, they were there to jumpstart the offence and bring it all home in a tactical 60-minute effort.

Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault combined for eight points, while Michael Hutchinson made 24 saves, to lead the Jets to a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday at MTS Centre.

Wheeler and Scheifele each had a goal and two assists, while their linemate, Perreault, had a pair of apples in the victory.

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

"That line, at the end of the day - I like what Matty Perreault does, I like the way Mark's playing, but Blake Wheeler is driving it as he has done all year," Maurice said. "He gets wired for the game and he's just been so good for our team."

Wheeler broke a 1-1 tie with 12:58 to play in the third period, ripping a shot off the stick of Radko Gudas and beating Steve Mason high over the right shoulder as he barrelled his way down the right side.

"I liked our game a lot," the captain said. "We were maybe a little slow out of the gate but we stuck with it. We can't expect to blow the doors off every team we play no matter how good we think we are. We were resilient, we dug in and we battled hard.

Video: PHI@WPG: Scheifele finds Wheeler to break the tie

"We've shown we can score enough goals. It's just a matter of digging in defensively and having a willingness to play that part of the game. … We do that, we should have a chance to win a lot of games."

Scheifele rounded out the scoring late, as he took a beautiful feed from Wheeler and fired home his 29th of the year - bar down - from the top of the near circle, tying a career high in goals (29) with nine games to play.

Video: PHI@WPG: Scheifele blisters home Wheeler's feed

The Jets have now won three straight games for the second time this season.

"We knew it was going to be a grind," Scheifele said. "They play a tough game and they swarm the puck, but we stuck to our game and got rewarded."

Hutchinson, meanwhile, made his first start since Jan. 16 and while he wasn't overly busy, he did come up a dazzling glove save off All-Star MVP Wayne Simmonds with 1:09 left to help preserve the victory.

Video: POSTGAME | Michael Hutchinson

Matt Read scored with 1.7 seconds left, but by then, the game was over.

The Flyers opened the scoring at 4:28 of the second after a sluggish opening 20 that saw the teams combine for only 15 shots. Showing great patience at the side of the net, and with Hutchinson out of position after making the initial save in tight, All-Star MVP Wayne Simmonds found Jordan Weal in front for the tap-in, putting the visitors on top 1-0.

The Jets answered right back, though, as Perreault's ninth - a power-play marker - evened the score only two-and-a-half minutes later. No. 85 weaved his way through the middle before creating space for himself and redirecting a Wheeler point shot up high past Mason.

Wheeler and Mark Scheifele recorded the assists.

Shots favoured the Jets 18-14 after 40 minutes.

LATE HITS: Nelson Nogier made his NHL debut, recording one shot and three hits in more than 12 minutes of ice time alongside veteran Mark Stuart.

"It was pretty nervous to say the least. It was a moment I'll never forget," he said.

"From the day I got drafted, the fans in Winnipeg have been amazing. That's just one of the things you want to achieve in life, to stand on that blue line in the Winnipeg rink."

Video: POSTGAME | Nelson Nogier

Nogier's play impressed both his teammates and the head coach, as Maurice offered plenty of praise in his post-game press conference:

"He got a bunch of touches on his first shift, which I think helped him. He skates well, he moved the puck well, he had some good reads. He had some tough defensive zone (faceoff) loss reads that are tough to pick up, but had no problem with it. I was pleased with his game."

- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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