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game recap

Wild fail to clinch playoff berth

Minnesota loses to Winnipeg, still five points ahead of Colorado for second wild card

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

Copp splits defense and scores

MIN@WPG: Copp uses pretty move to beat Dubnyk

4/3/16: Andrew Copp takes the puck in the neutral zone, splits the defense and beats Devan Dubnyk on the backhand, giving the Jets a 3-1 lead

  • 00:45 •

WINNIPEG - The Minnesota Wild missed an opportunity to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing 5-1 to the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Sunday.

A win would have put Minnesota in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season because the Colorado Avalanche lost 5-1 to the St. Louis Blues. The Wild remain five points ahead of the Avalanche for the second wild card from the Western Conference, with Colorado having one game in hand.

"We're going to get throttled if we're going to play like this," Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. "We've got to be ready to play playoff hockey at the start of the game. We've got to be absolutely desperate from the drop of the puck. It's not there right now. I know this group will find a way."

Added Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu: "I think we cost ourselves. Everything about it. We need to learn from that."

Video: MIN@WPG: Thorburn adds to Jets' lead in 2nd

The Wild (38-31-11) will have another chance to clinch a berth when they host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. They have lost three games in a row following a six-game winning streak.

"It's disappointing that we didn't play harder with a chance to seal it up here, but you can't get down at this point of the [season]," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said. "We're sitting in a good spot still, and we just have to get it going in the last two games.

"We're sitting in a good spot. We control our destiny. We're going home."

Dubnyk had 29 saves in his 12th consecutive start. Mikael Granlund ended Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec's shutout with 12:23 left in regulation.

Video: MIN@WPG: Stafford puts home rebound on the doorstep

The Wild closed to within 2-1 early in the third period before the Jets pulled away with three unanswered goals.

Minnesota coach John Torchetti said he lacked an explanation for his team's play.

"I wish I knew, but we've got to play way better, and we've got to be way more focused," Torchetti said.

The win ended the Jets' four-game losing streak, and they defeated the Wild for the fourth time in five games. The Jets (32-39-8) finished their home schedule by winning for the seventh time in their past 24 games at MTS Centre (7-14-3). After starting the season 11-5-1 on home ice, they finished with an 18-19-4 home record. Winnipeg will finish its season with a three-game road trip starting against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

Video: MIN@WPG: Scheifele's goal gives Jets early lead

Mark Scheifele scored a first-period power-play goal on the for the Jets, who began Sunday ranked last in the NHL on the power play. Scheifele increased his point streak to seven games (four goals, six assists). Blake Wheeler increased his to eight games (four goals, six assists) with an empty-net goal.

Chris Thorburn ended a 47-game goalless streak with a second-period goal, and Andrew Copp and Drew Stafford also scored for the Jets. Pavelec made 28 saves.

Coach Paul Maurice praised Wheeler and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for maintaining a standard of play even though the Jets will not be in the playoffs.

"There is accountability and price for the other players when you see those two guys competing and being in the game, not being casual about the game, especially because [of the schedule]," Maurice said.

Winnipeg took a 1-0 first period lead on Scheifele's 27th goal at 17:55. A quick series of passes from Alexander Burmistrov and Nikolaj Ehlers set up Scheifele in front of Dubnyk for a tap-in. Scheifele's goal on the man-advantage was the Jets' first in 10 games since March 12 against Colorado; they had been 0-for-25.

Video: MIN@WPG: Pavelec flashes the leather to stone Zucker

The Jets took a 2-0 lead in the second period when Matt Halischuk picked off Granlund's offensive-zone pass and forwarded the puck for Thorburn to finish on a breakaway at 12:37. Thorburn's sixth goal was his first since Dec. 15.

Granlund pulled the Wild to within a goal in the third period, 2-1, on his 13th goal.

Winnipeg restored its two-goal lead on Copp's fifth goal 2:26 later. Stafford made it a 4-1 game on the power play with 7:05 to go, flipping a shot over Dubnyk for his 21st goal. Wheeler finished the scoring with 2:44 remaining with his 23rd goal.

"It's an unfortunate situation we're in, and obviously we can't control it anymore," Thorburn said. "But at the same time, we can control what's ahead of us and being in the moment. That was a big game for Minnesota and for us, so I was proud of the way we played, and the way we battled."

Video: Five players score as Jets pummel Wild

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