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game recap

Jets finish second in Central with win against Coyotes

Earn home ice in Western first round against Blues

by Alan Robinson / NHL.com Correspondent

Connor nets insurance marker

WPG@ARI: Connor sweeps home rebound in front

Kyle Connor spots the rebound from Mark Scheifele's shot and taps it by Calvin Pickard, giving the Jets a two-goal lead in the 2nd

  • 00:55 •

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Winnipeg Jets clinched second place in the Central Division with a 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

The Jets (47-30-5) will have home-ice advantage against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Jets and Blues finished tied in points, but Winnipeg had three more regulation/overtime wins (ROW).

Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist, and Jacob Trouba and Nikolaj Ehlers scored for the Jets, who had lost their previous two games and five of six. Connor Hellebuyck made 19 saves.

 

[WATCH: Jets vs. Coyotes highlights]

 

"Things haven't come easily for us recently," Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said. "But we've got a good feeling in our room, a lot of excitement about what should be a great series."

Alex Galchenyuk and Brad Richardson scored for Arizona (39-35-8), which was trying for its first 40-win season since 2011-12.

Video: WPG@ARI: Scheifele buries one-timer for equalizer

Calvin Pickard made 28 saves in his first start since Feb. 18 for the Coyotes, who were eliminated from playoff contention Thursday and lost eight of their final 11 games.

"I thought we started OK, but you could tell the emotion that was there the last couple of months was lacking a bit," Richardson said. "We tried to fight back, but it definitely was tough."

Galchenyuk scored a power-play goal on Arizona's first shot. His wrist shot from the slot went in off Hellebuyck's glove to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead at 2:21 of the first period.

The Jets scored the next four goals.

"We stuck with it, stayed pretty even-keeled the whole game, in the locker room and the bench," Connor said. "We generated some good offense and were able to capitalize."

Scheifele tied it 1-1 with a one-timer off Connor's pass from behind the net at 15:18.

"They kind of took over in the second," Pickard said. "They were opportunistic and made some nice plays."

Trouba put Winnipeg up 2-1 at 2:35 of the second when he pushed in the rebound of Par Lindholm's wraparound.

"When we get everybody involved, we're able to play at a high speed, and that's when we're at our best," Wheeler said. "If we continue to buy into this, it's going to give us a chance to have some success in the playoffs."

Connor scored on the rebound of a Scheifele shot two seconds after a Jets power play ended to make it 3-1 at 10:05, and Ehlers scored with two seconds left on a power play to make it 4-1 at 15:21.

"They've got their thing going again," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said of the Connor-Scheifele-Wheeler line. "It's looking like they're more on the same page now. … There's some chemistry there."

Richardson scored to get the Coyotes to within 4-2 at 3:29 of the third. He and Galchenyuk finished tied for the Arizona lead with 19 goals.

Josh Archibald scored for the Coyotes at 14:50 of the third, but Maurice challenged for goaltender interference by Archibald, and the goal was overturned after video review.

Winnipeg would have finished first in the Central Division with a win and a loss by the Nashville Predators, but the Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 earlier in the night.

The Jets reached the Western Conference Final last season before losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.

"It's something you can't take for granted," Wheeler said of making the playoffs. "It's not easy to do in this league."

The Coyotes were in position to make the playoffs until the final week of the season after being all but out of contention following an 0-10-1 start in 2017-18.

"We were a couple of games away this year," Richardson said. "We made huge strides, and we'd like to continue that next year."

Video: WPG@ARI: Trouba sweeps in goal at the doorstep

 

They said it

"[The Blues] are playing really well. Since the last time we saw them, outside of [the] Tampa Bay [Lightning], they have the best record in the NHL. At this time of the year, regardless of who you're playing, it's going to be tough." -- Jets captain Blake Wheeler

"I thought we played well enough to get in the playoffs. It's disappointing. Even with all of the injuries, we battled and competed and played until the end. … We all thought we were going to get in, so it was heartbreaking." -- Coyotes forward Brad Richardson

Video: WPG@ARI: Hinostroza, Richardson link up on two-on-one

 

Need to know

The Jets won three of four against the Blues this season, but they haven't played each other since a 1-0 St. Louis win Dec. 7. … The Jets went 16-6-2 against the Pacific Division. … Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper's streak of 22 consecutive starts ended. … Pickard was 0-4-0 for Arizona after being claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 29.

 

What's next

Jets: Host the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of Western Conference First Round (TBA)

Coyotes: Season over

Video: Jets double up Coyotes, 4-2, to end regular season

View More

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