Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 |
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice and captain Blake Wheeler shrugged off their milestones.
Wheeler scored the 200th goal of his NHL career with 6:46 left and the Jets held off the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Friday night for Maurice’s 600th victory.
“You just want to win games, 200 or not, it’s nice to contribute to a win,” Wheeler said.
Maurice is the 17th NHL coach to reach 600.
“I don’t think there’s a significance to it,” Maurice said. “Most of them looked just like that — hold your breath for 2 1/2 hours. I won’t think about it a whole lot. It’s nice.”
The Wild turned the puck over just outside their blue line and Kyle Connor fed a pass to Wheeler, who used a deke to beat goalie Devin Dubnyk at 13:14. The former University of Minnesota star’s score made up for a disallowed Winnipeg goal midway through the period.
Jets center Mark Scheifele appeared to have poked in the go-ahead goal, but it was overturned on a Minnesota challenge that Wheeler interfered with Dubnyk.
Patrik Laine had a pair of power-play goals and Nikolaj Ehlers added his sixth goal of the season for Winnipeg. Scheifele and Dustin Byfuglien each had two assists, and Wheeler added one.
Mikko Koivu, Mike Reilly and Chris Stewart scored for the Wild, and Jason Zucker had two of assists.
“I thought we took the play to them until we got the lead,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Then it seems like we’re afraid to win because all five games right now, we’ve been tied or ahead with less than 10 minutes to go in the third period.
“And you look at our record and it’s not good enough. When you’re that close in every game, no matter who’s in the lineup and you come away with nothing we’ve got to do some soul searching.”
Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for the Jets for his fourth victory of the season.
Dubnyk stopped 26 shots for the rested Wild. They were playing their first game since their home opener last Saturday.
NOTES: Jets forward Brendan Lemieux, the son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux, made his NHL debut with his family in the crowd. Lemieux arrived in Winnipeg in the 2015 trade that sent Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to the Buffalo Sabres. … Stewart extended his point streak to five games.
Wild: At Calgary on Saturday night.
Jets: At Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
For more NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
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