Blake Wheeler has goal, 4 assists in Jets’ win over Avs
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Blake Wheeler took a pass on soaking up praise after his career-high five-point performance.
The Winnipeg captain had an empty-net goal and four assists in the Jets’ 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.
“When you’re passing it to guys like that, it gives you a level of confidence that kind of changes how you move the puck,” Wheeler said. “If you were passing to somebody that doesn’t have a prayer of putting it in the net, it’s a little bit different than giving it to (Mark) Scheifele or (Patrik) Laine.
“No doubt those guys give me a ton of confidence to find those little seams. And like I said, they need such little space. If I can just squeeze it in there, there’s a good chance it’s going in.”
Wheeler extended his point streak to nine games. He has two goals and 15 assists during the run, and is second in the NHL with 18 assists overall — one behind Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen.
Kyle Connor and Laine had power-play goals, giving the Jets at least one power-play goal in 11 straight games to add to a franchise record. Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored, with Scheifele adding an assist. Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves.
Colorado defenseman Eric Johnson scored his first goal of the season, Tyson Jost added a goal and Semyon Varlamov stopped 19 shots.
“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.”
The Avalanche have lost five in a row.
“I think leaders on this team got to get on this now,” Johnson said. “We gotta stop the bleeding and string some wins together here.”
Avalanche: At Edmonton on Sunday.
Jets: Host New Jersey on Sunday.