Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets pull mile-high heroics

Wheeler pots last-second win in Denver

  • Print

Joe Mahoney / The Associated Press

With his stick in his own net, Winnipeg Jets goalie Al Montoya (left) blocks a shot as Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene moves into the crease during overtime.

DENVER — Sometimes it’s a small thing, almost a hockey cliché — get the puck to the net.


At the last possible second Sunday night at Pepsi Center, remembering it paid off handsomely for the Winnipeg Jets.


Blake Wheeler redirected rookie Mark Scheifele’s feed towards the Colorado Avalanche net and with 1.5 seconds remaining in overtime, the Jets claimed a 2-1 victory, their second divisional triumph this week.


"I saw Wheels and he called for it the last second and he got a good stick on it and it went in," Scheifele said. "Yeah, I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left, that I had to get it towards the net as quick as I could."


It’s the second time this month that duo made some overtime magic.


Wheeler set up Scheifele for the game-winner in extra time Dec. 7 in Tampa.


"I think we just read off each other," Scheifele said. "He makes good plays. We complement each other well. It’s just a matter of being comfortable and capitalizing on those chances."


Jets coach Claude Noel said matching Wheeler with Scheifele started out as a hunch.


"The reason I did it this time was that the last time I did it, they ended up scoring the overtime goal," the coach said, his team now back to .500 with a mark of 18-18-5 at the halfway point of their regular-season schedule. "So when something like that happens, you just kind of go with it.


"I’ve had other pairs do different things. Sometimes it’s just a hunch you follow and that’s why I did it."


Central move


It’s a baby step, but the Jets improved their Central Division mark this season to 5-11-3 with wins over Minnesota and now the Avs.


The climb that remains for the second half is still substantial — six points away from the eighth spot as of late Sunday night — but you’ve got to start somewhere.


"I don’t think we’re there yet," Wheeler said after adding his 10th goal of December in deciding Sunday’s game. "We’re really doing a lot of the same things we did the first half but the difference the last two games is that we’ve found a way to dig deep and get that next goal. I think that’s where we missed out in the first half.


"It’s a good sign that we’re reversing that trend a little bit, but it’s only two games and we’ve still got a lot of work to do."


Style points


After the turkey of a first period at home on Friday, the Jets have done a pretty good job. They gave up just one goal to the Wild over the final two periods, and only 16 shots in that time, and Sunday held the highly skilled Avs to just one goal — a fluke — and outshot them 37-34.


"I think we’re playing more consistent," Noel said. "We’ve talked about that a little bit more. A season isn’t built on two games, but we’ll certainly take the positives out of the two games and try to build. I thought we got good production from a lot of forwards."


Call him Al


All the talk heading into the game was about the jumbled Jets goaltending situation.


Backup Al Montoya earned the net by claiming Friday’s mop-up victory in relief of Ondrej Pavelec and he was very solid again Sunday, including one very huge overtime save just before Winnipeg’s winning play.


"They’re a good transition team that has a lot of dangerous weapons," Montoya said. "We shut that down. I thought we did a good job especially in the second and third. We wanted to have that third guy high to limit their chances and we stuck with that.


"This win’s nice but we can’t fool ourselves," the goalie said. "We’ve got a lot of work to do. It starts tomorrow at practice."


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 30, 2013 C1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Winnipeg Free Press 27 cent digital payment system

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of Manitoba Hydro's deal to create a surface-parking lot to allow for construction of a new substation?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google