Blake Wheeler scored 1:42 into overtime to give the Winnipeg Jets a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night at the MTS Centre.
With the win, the Jets improve to 32-30-9 on the year and are just four points shy of the Phoenix Coyotes for the final wild card spot in the NHL's Western Conference.
The Avalanche fall to 44-20-6 on the year with the loss and are now in fifth place in the West, two points shy of the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth.
Al Montoya has earned his 12th win of the season. He now boasts a 12-6-3 record on the year and his second win in three games. Reto Berra earned the loss in net for Colorado.
The Avalanche came out of the gates hot, taking a 1-0 lead just 20 seconds into the game. Avs forward Ryan O’Reilly snapped a low shot past Jets goalie Al Montoya for his 26th of the season.
The Jets answered right back with captain Andrew Ladd making good on an offensive rush, beating Avalanche goalie Reto Berra with a shot high glove side. It was Ladd’s 20th of the season, making it his third year season with 20+ goals.
Winnipeg would take the lead minutes at 12:08 of the period with a goal from Eric Tangradi. Blake Wheeler carried the puck out from behind the net before finding a wide-open Tangradi, who notched his second of the year.
Right when it looked like the Jets would head into the dressing room with the lead, Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog made it a 2-2 game, beating Montoya with a shot on the ice from the right side.
The second period didn’t have the exciting start like the first.
That all changed when the Jets’ Anthony Peluso and Colorado’s Patrick Bordeleau decided to drop the gloves and dance. After all was said and done, Peluso won the fight and Bordeleau was addressed an extra two, putting the Jets on the power play, but they couldn’t covert.
Evander Kane would finally give the fans something to cheer about, capping off a nice passing play for his 17th of the season to give the Jets a 3-2 lead.
But like the first period, the Jets couldn’t hold on to the lead as Avalanche defenceman Nick Holden evened the score at 3-3, scoring his eighth of the season with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Winnipeg once again took the lead 4:58 into the third period. With Avalanche defenceman Andre Benoit in the penalty box for interference, Ladd connected on a pass from Wheeler in the slot for his second of the game to make it 4-3.
But like all the other leads for the Jets, this too was short-lived. Cody McLeod, a native of Binscarth, Man., evened the score at four apiece with his third goal of the season.
Dustin Byfuglien did not participate in the morning skate today and is out of action for tonight’s game. Head coach Paul Maurice said after the skate that Byfuglien is suffering from a lower-body injury, but he should be good to play Saturday when the Jets take on the Carolina Hurricanes at the MTS Centre.
Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian is also not in the lineup, said to be out with an upper-body injury. Paul Postma took his spot on the blue line.
It’s the fifth and final game between these two clubs, with the Avalanche earning the win in the last meeting, a 3-2 overtime victory back on March 10. The Jets are 1-2-1 against the Avs this year, with each game decided by just a single goal.
First period summary:
Goals – 1. COL O’Reilly (26) (Duchene) 00:20 2. WPG Ladd (20) (Little, Trouba) 3:15 3. WPG Tangradi (2) (Wheeler, Jokinen) 12:08 4. COL Landeskog (21) (Benoit, MacKinnon) 17:47
Penalties – WPG Pardy (Delay of game) 13:49
Second period summary:
Goals – 5. WPG Kane (17) (Setoguchi, Postma) 12:02 6. COL Holden (8) (Barrie, Talbot) 19:29
Penalties – COL Bordeleau (Fighting) 3:58, WPG Peluso (Fighting) 3:58, COL Bordeleau (Interference) 3:58
Third period summary:
Goals – 7. WPG Ladd PPG (21) (Wheeler, Enstrom) 4:58 8. COL McCleod (3) (Talbot, Guenin) 10:23
Penalties – COL Benoit (Intereferene) 3:46
Goals – 9. Wheeler (24) (Postma, Enstrom) 1:42
Penalties – No penalties