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Jets defeat Avalanche 5-4 in OT

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Colorado Avalanche's Gabriel Landeskog (92) rips the puck past Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Al Montoya for their second goal as Jets' Keaton Ellerby looks on during first period NHL action in Winnipeg on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

They’d denied following their morning skate earlier it was a must-win.

But nobody was denying it Wednesday night.

With their backs to the wall, the Winnipeg Jets kept their slim playoff hopes on life-support at the MTS Centre Wednesday night as winger Blake Wheeler got his first goal in 10 games at the most opportune of times — at 1:42 of overtime, giving his team a gritty and critical 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

"This was huge. This was a must-win," said Jets goaltender Al Montoya, who won the second of his last three starts in relief of injured Ondrej Pavelec.

"They all are, but tonight — day-by-day — this was one we needed to have and we did have. I can’t say enough about the guys who came to play tonight."

Topping that list was Wheeler, who had two assists during regulation time, when Jets defenceman Paul Postma fed him a pass in the Avs zone and Wheeler did the rest — weaving his way through traffic seemingly forever before finally firing from a sharp angle into a wide-open Avs net.

"It felt like an eternity," said Wheeler. "I was looking for a shot and it just wasn’t open. I couldn’t figure out where the opening was going to be. And finally, the goalie was out of the net in the corner and I was able to find the hole...

"This has been a tough year. It’s been one thing after another," Wheeler continued.

"And that’s one thing I’d say about our group — we’re definitely seasoned at this point and there’s nothing that we can’t deal with. And we’re starting to rally around that in our room."


So how’d that go?

The Jets fell behind 1-0 after just 20 seconds when Avs centre Ryan O’Reilly banked a shot in off Bryan Little, but Winnipeg came right back less than three minutes later when captain Andrew Ladd hit the corner to beat Avs goalie Reto Berra for his first of two on the night.

Eric Tangradi put Winnipeg up 2-1 midway through the first period, giving Winnipeg the first of three leads they would hold — and squander — on this night.

Evander Kane, with his second in three games, was the Jets’ other goal scorer, while Gabe Landeskog, Nick Holden and Cody McLeod had the other Colorado goals — all of it setting the stage for Wheeler’s overtime heroics.


About those scratches

With Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian going down during the pre-game warmup with an upper body injury, the Jets had a lot of very pricey talent watching from the press box.

In addition to Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien, Jim Slater and Pavelec also couldn’t go last night with lower-body injuries. And then there were the longer-term guys in Jets sick bay — Mark Scheifele and Chris Thorburn.

All together the Jets were missing six regulars.

Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Bogosian came up lame in the warmup, but he’s expected to play Saturday.

Maurice said he was impressed with the way his team kept coming despite all the adversity.

"That tone was set early," said Maurice, "that you just keep slugging in this game and do whatever you have to do to come out on top."


So now what?

The Jets’ win was their second in three games and got Winnipeg within four points of Phoenix for the final wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference, although the Coyotes have two games in hand.

The Jets get one of the league’s softer touches in the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at MTS Centre before embarking on a very challenging western road swing that will see them play five games in nine nights against, in succession, the Stars, Sharks, Kings, Ducks and Coyotes.

That’s a steep climb, but at least the motor is still running.

Twitter: @PaulWiecek

Live Winnipeg Jets Coverage Twitter bird

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLJets Blake Wheeler with his first goal in 10 games and it's a huge one as Jets defeat Colordo Avalanche 5-4 at 1:42 of OT. 9:38 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: Regulation time solves nothing -- #NHLJets 4 #NHLAvs 4 and we're headed to overtime. 9:34 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLAvs Cody McLeod beats #NHLJets G Al Montoya through the 5-hole and the score is tied again at 4-4 at 10:23 of 3rd P. 9:14 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLJets Blake Wheeler with the pretty feed out front to Andrew Ladd, who beats the Avs Berra and its 4-3 for the Jets at 4:48 of 3rd. 9:04 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLJets and #NHLAvs tied 3-3 through two periods. Jets outshooting Avs 19-17. 8:39 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLJets sloppy in own end and pay dearly as #NHLAvs D Nick Holden walks in and beats Montoya at 19:30 of 2nd. Jets 3 Avs 3. 8:35 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Evander Kane now has two in his last three games. Working well with Devin Setoguchi and Eric O'Dell. #NHLJets. 8:19 pm on Mar 19

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: Postma to Setoguchi to Kane on the tic tac toe and the #nhljets lead #nhlavs 3-2 at 12:02 of second period 8:18 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: Postma to Setoguchi to Kane on the tic-tac-toe and the #NHLJets lead the #NHLAvs 3-2 at 12:02 of 2nd period. 8:18 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: That's two in two games for Evander Kane. Working well with Devin Setoguchi and Eric O'Dell. 3-2 #NHLJets. 8:18 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Some showboating by Anthony Peluso after his scrap with Patrick Bordeleau. That won't go over well with the Avs. #NHLJets 8:05 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Toby Enstrom led #NHLJets in ice time in first at 7:51. Adam Pardy, even with a minor, was at 7:28. 7:48 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: 1st period is over and the #NHLJets and #NHLAvs are tied 2-2. Colorado outshot Winnipeg 12-8. 7:41 pm on Mar 19

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: avs are 14-6-3 when tied after 1. #nhljets are 13-16-6 when tied after 1. stay tuned. 7:41 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLAvs Gabe Landeskog deposits fat rebound in back of #NHLJets net and it's 2-2 at 17:47 of 1st period. 7:38 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Eric Tangradi takes a sweet feed from Blake Wheeler to put the #NHLJets up 2-1. Tangradi's 2nd goal of the season and 1st since Nov. 8. 7:29 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLJets Blake Wheeler with a pretty feed across the crease to Eric Tangradi, who buries it behind Avs Berra; Jets 2 Avs 1 at 12:08. 7:28 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: And just like that it's 1-1 as #NHLJets LW Andrew Ladd snipes the far corner behind Avs G Reto Berra at 3:15; Little and Trouba assists. 7:13 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Two goals in the first 3:15 as Andrew Ladd ties it for the #NHLJets. Another 9-8 scorefest, anyone? 7:13 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLJets down 1-0 to Colorado Avalanche after just 20 seconds of play as Avs C Ryan O'Reilly banks one in off Bryan Little. 7:11 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets lineup missing Scheifele, Byfuglien, Bogosian, Pavelec, Thorburn and Slater. Roster looks like an IceCaps/Jets split-squad. 7:02 pm on Mar 19

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: #NHLJets D Zach Bogosian among tonight's scratches. 7:00 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Zach Bogosian among the scratches listed now, along with Byfuglien. 7:00 pm on Mar 19

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Dustin Byfuglien will not play tonight against Col. Day to day. 11:38 am on Mar 19


Updated on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 5:21 PM CDT: Adds live blog

7:11 PM: Updates score

7:40 PM: Updates score

8:02 PM: Updates photo

8:19 PM: Updates score

9:16 PM: Updates score

9:38 PM: Updates score

10:08 PM: Updates with CP story

10:54 PM: Updates with local story, adds slideshow, adds video

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