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game recap

Scheifele scores twice, Jets top Penguins for 7th win in past 8

Connor extends point streak to 9 games, Rittich makes 22 saves for Winnipeg

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

Recap: WPG 4, PIT 1

Scheifele, DeMelo lift Jets to 4-1 win

Mark Scheifele scored 2 goals and Dylan DeMelo notched his 100th career point with 2 assists to propel Jets to a 4-1 win against Penguins

  • 04:58 •

PITTSBURGH -- Mark Scheifele scored twice, and the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 at PPG Paints Arena on Friday.

Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist, Nikolaj Ehlers scored, and Cole Perfetti had three assists for the Jets (28-14-1), who have won seven of eight, including a 4-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. David Rittich made 22 saves.

"Give the players full marks for responding the way they did, good for them," Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness said. "That was probably about one of the best games we've played all year. It really was, in terms of how we want to play and how you can be successful moving forward. Certainly, no passengers tonight, everyone contributed." 

Video: WPG@PIT: Scheifele, Ehlers each score in 22 seconds

Dustin Tokarski made 36 saves in his first NHL start since April 29 as a member of the Sabres, and Sidney Crosby was held without a shot on goal for the Penguins (21-14-6), who had won their previous two games following a six-game skid (0-4-2).

Marcus Pettersson was a late scratch with an illness for Pittsburgh, which was already without defensemen Kris Letang (lower-body injury) and Jeff Petry (upper body).

"I don't think it was [up to] the standard that's been set here by our group," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I know we're capable of a lot more, regardless of who's in our lineup. It just wasn't our best. … It's a challenge. We're missing some guys back there that play heavy minutes for us.

"It's hard to replace those guys, without a doubt. But we have to find a way to simplify the game, play as a group of five out there and try to play as a more simplified version of ourselves to give ourselves a chance. I just didn't think we did that tonight." 

Scheifele and Ehlers scored 22 seconds apart to give the Jets a two-goal lead late in the second period.

Scheifele made it 2-1 at 17:58, tapping in a pass from Wheeler before Ehlers extended it to 3-1 at 18:20. Ehlers scored on a wrist shot from the left face-off circle after receiving a pass from Kyle Connor, who extended his point streak to nine games (six goals, nine assists).

"We had our chances, and we didn't capitalize. Those [goals] are obviously big," Scheifele said. "Then in the third period, we buckled down, we did the right thing. We got the puck deep. We made it really, really hard on them to gain the blue line, gain any sustained [offensive zone] pressure. If we play like that, we're hard to beat." 

Video: WPG@PIT: Ehlers scores in 2nd period

Scheifele pushed it to 4-1 at 6:39 of the third period with a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle. It was his 26th goal of the season.

Wheeler gave Winnipeg a 1-0 lead on a power play at 11:19 of the first period, ending his seven-game goal drought with a backhand on a loose puck off a shot from Perfetti.

Drew O'Connor tied it 1-1 at 16:42, tapping in a pass from forward Kasperi Kapanen from just outside the crease on a 2-on-1. 

"I think we just didn't limit their chances tonight," O'Connor said. "I think they had a lot of good looks. I don't really know the exact answer of what we could do different. Will have to look at some film, I think. … It was nice to get one and tie it up there. I think we just have to try to lock it down and get some more after that."

Video: WPG@PIT: Scheifele launches a one-timer into the net

The Jets had two goals from defenseman Neal Pionk disallowed in the first period.

Pionk beat Tokarski on a shot through a screen at 15:42, but video review determined Scheifele preceded the puck into the offensive zone. He then scored from the point at 18:15, but it was waved off due to goalie interference from Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois. The call was upheld after a coach's challenge. 

"You keep looking for solutions. That's what it's all about," Bowness said. "Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't. ... No matter what happens, we get ready for the next shift. We move on."

NOTES: Perfetti had 14:05 of ice time after being a game-time decision with an illness. … Ehlers extended his point streak to four games (three goals, five assists). He has at least one point in four of his past five games after missing the previous 36 due to sports hernia surgery. … Scheifele has 156 NHL multipoint games, surpassing Ilya Kovalchuk for second-most in Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg history. Wheeler is first with 194. … Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo had two assists and has 100 points (10 goals, 90 assists) in 436 NHL games. … Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Friedman had one shot on goal and three hits in 16:23 of ice time after being recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League earlier Friday.

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