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game recap

Wheeler has hand in all five Jets goals against Avalanche

Forward reaches 401 NHL assists with four, plus goal

by Scott Billeck / NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Blake Wheeler had an NHL career-high five points, including his 400th NHL assist, for the Winnipeg Jets in a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Bell MTS Place on Friday.

"Well, the weapons we have are pretty special," Wheeler said. "I'm the guy getting them the puck. They make the passer look good. The guys that shoot like [Mark Scheifele] and [Patrik Laine] are incredibly rare. And you stack them up on one power play, it's really hard to stop that."

Wheeler scored a goal and had four assists to reach 401 in 793 NHL games. He has a nine-game point streak (two goals, 15 assists) and is second in the NHL with 18 assists and tied for fifth in points with 21.

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Jets highlights]

 

"He just sees the ice so well," Scheifele said. "He reads the option so well. He reads the defender's sticks so well. When it's on his stick, he manipulates those defenders to put their sticks where he wants to and throws it into that spot where his stick just was. He's pretty special at doing it."

Scheifele had a goal and two assists; and Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers and Laine scored for the Jets (9-5-1). Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves.

Video: COL@WPG: Wheeler earns 400th assist on Ehlers' goal

Erik Johnson and Tyson Jost scored for the Avalanche (7-6-3), who lost their fifth straight game. It's Colorado's longest losing streak since a seven-game streak from March 18-29, 2017.

"I think leaders on this team got to get on this now," Johnson said. "We've got to stop the bleeding and string some wins together here."

Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves.

"Too many mistakes and turnovers with the puck led to chances against," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "But you know, all those odd-man rushes and scoring chances against, it's mostly on us, not on them."

Connor made it 1-0 eight seconds into a Jets power play at 10:16 of the first period. Scheifele's shot from the slot was blocked, but Connor was able to chip the loose puck past Varlamov.

Video: COL@WPG: Connor cleans up loose puck in front for PPG

The Jets have scored a power-play goal in 11 straight games, extending a Winnipeg/Atlanta Thrashers record.

Scheifele pushed the lead to 2-0, scoring on a one-timer from the left circle at 13:32.

"It's always hard to start the games when you're down like one or two goals," Varlamov said. "But it doesn't matter even if you're down, like it's only one or two goals. You know, I mean we have enough skill on this team to score like five."

Johnson pulled the Avalanche to 2-1 at 2:26 of the third period. Ehlers made it 3-1 at 5:42 before Jost scored 1:10 later to pull it back to 3-2.

Video: COL@WPG: Laine hammers home one-timer for PPG

Laine scored his Jets-leading eighth goal at 10:43 to make it 4-2, and Wheeler scored into the empty net to make it 5-2 at 18:34.

"Blake took it to another level," Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey said. "He's a guy that drives our bus every single day in practice, in the gym, and basically in every aspect of being a professional hockey player. He's the guy that we follow."

 

They said it

"We couldn't shut [Wheeler] down. It was just like he had a good night. … I think he got some lucky breaks on the passes and [they] dumped them into the back of our net. They made a good power-play pass, but it's their best players' job to score the goals, it's our job to shut them down, and we didn't do that tonight." -- Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov

 

"Anything that's truly elite, I don't think you have an answer for. I can't tell you how Patrik Laine shoots the puck. Blake has been an elite passer, and what I find makes him unusual is that, for the most part, he can make those passes at speed." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice

 

Need to know

Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. ... Jost returned after missing four games with a head injury. ... Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie has seven assists in his past six games. ... Avalanche forward Alexander Kerfoot has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past four games. ... Scheifele has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past eight games. ... Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien had an assist to extend his point streak to five games (one goal, six assists). ... Wheeler trails Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche by one assists for the NHL lead.

 

What's next

Avalanche: At the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET; SN1, SNW, ALT, NHL.TV)

Jets: Host the New Jersey Devils on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Wheeler's five points leads Jets past Avalanche, 5-2

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