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Wheeler's four assists push Jets to 4-1 win over Dallas

Scheifele scores twice, Connor and Laine add singles in road victory

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

DALLAS, Texas - The Winnipeg Jets have played four games against Central Division opponents so far this season.

After Monday night, the Jets now have four wins against those opponents as well.

Blake Wheeler had four assists in Winnipeg's 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars, the first loss the Stars have suffered at American Airlines Center in their last six contests.

The captain now has 13 points in his last five games, and 21 points on the season, good enough for third in league scoring.

But wins are all that matter to Wheeler right now.

"I think our line has one mindset, and that's to set the pace for the team. Play hard every shift, play direct, don't make any bonehead plays, don't try to force anything at blue lines. We don't have to," said Wheeler.

"Scheifs is as good as anyone in the league down behind the offensive net. That's where we want to play. That's our job. The two of us are leaders on this team, and we just try to bring that every night."

Video: WPG@DAL: Scheifele scores in game's opening minute

The top line got right to work in this one. Following a quick breakout, Mark Scheifele came over the Stars blue line and using Marc Methot as a screen, ripped a wrist shot off the inside of the post on Bishop's stick side for his eight of the season, and an early Jets lead.

"It was a great drive by Wheels. He made it all happen. I'm happy to be the one benefitting from it," said Scheifele.

"He's a great leader in our room. He makes sure we don't get too high or get too low. If we win a game or lose a game, it doesn't matter. We still play the same way."

Then, with John Klingberg in the box for hooking, Winnipeg's power play would strike.

Following extended possession time in the Dallas zone, Patrik Laine ripped home his third goal in three games from the top of the circle, a laser to the top corner on Bishop's stick side with traffic in font.

The power play went 1-for-3 on the night, and has now converted on seven of its last 15 opportunities.

Wheeler drew assists on the first two Jets goals, and he wasn't done yet. With 55.9 seconds left in the opening frame, Wheeler took advantage when Dan Hamhuis stumbled just inside the Dallas zone, and fed Kyle Connor on a 2-on-1, and he made no mistake on the finish.

Video: WPG@DAL: Connor scores off Wheeler's nifty pass

"(It was) really important. Goals at the end of periods put you in a good mood," said head coach Paul Maurice. "If it's not in, it's 2-1 (when they score in the second) then it's a different animal that you're playing against."

The Stars would get one back in the second, when their league best power play got its first opportunity. A point shot from Klingberg wen off the back boards, and when it came back in front, Jamie Benn was there to knock the puck between Connor Hellebuyck's legs.

The Jets would challenge for goaltender interference, but the call on the ice would stand.

But that goal was the only one the Stars would get. Hellebuyck made 14 of his 33 saves in the second period, keeping the Jets lead at two.

"I think the guys in front of me really got in the way and blocked a lot of the key shots," said Hellebuyck. "If they weren't blocking it, they were controlling and keeping it to the outside, so I was able to see pucks.

"It might have looked like a lot of shots, but the guys were doing the right things out there."

Scheifele would add his second of the game, and ninth of the season, into the empty net with 12.3 seconds to go, improving the team's record in their last 12 games to 8-1-3.

Overall, Scheifele and Wheeler combined for seven points in a big win to start a three-game road trip.

"They were on at the start of the third to finish off the (penalty) kill too. The defensive parts of the game, their shift length was good, and their decisions," said Maurice.

"Just a real nice job of leading by example in terms of how we want to play, and they seem to be getting better and stronger."

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