Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Scheifele's prowess continues to grow

Hot hand has him looking like a veteran

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ST. LOUIS -- Mark Scheifele isn't a wide-eyed rookie anymore. Rookie, yes. But wide-eyed? Hardly.

The Winnipeg Jets centre scored twice in Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues, darting into open space to finish a perfect pass from Devin Setoguchi and then streaking past Derek Roy before beating Brian Elliott with a simply delicious backhand from in tight.

Afterward, Scheifele was doing a slow burn about the point loss in the shootout, but did provide his thoughts on his 12th and 13th goals of the season.

'Nothing really surprises me with him. I knew he was a great player, I'd seen him when he was younger. He struggled the first 10 to 15 games but it's like the light switched after that and he was a different player because he had that confidence'

-- Bryan Little on Mark Scheifele

"First one, Seto made an unbelievable pass and I was just happy to put it in," said Scheifele. "Next one, Wheels (Blake Wheeler) made a great pass and I was just happy to get the opportunity to put it in. I owe a lot to the guys who passed it."

Scheifele was also bummed about losing a draw to Patrik Berglund early in the third that directly led to a goal by Jaden Schwartz that briefly put the Blues ahead 3-2.

"They're big and strong and tough to win draws against," he said. "It's a big thing, they definitely key on it and they're good at it."

Scheifele now has seven goals in his last 16 games and has been especially outstanding over the last month or so.

"Nothing really surprises me with him," said Bryan Little of Scheifele. "I knew he was a great player, I'd seen him when he was younger. He struggled the first 10 to 15 games but it's like the light switched after that and he was a different player because he had that confidence.

"You see that. He plays every night with that confidence. He's going to be a great player in this league."

The Jets' other high-profile rookie, defenceman Jacob Trouba, was again busy with 25:31 of ice time.

"I like to see (Scheifele) get those confidence-builders, that he's starting to show some moves and the hands around the net," said Paul Maurice. "He played great. With our kids, this is five (games) in 81/2 days with lots of travel and you're looking for how those guys wear, how they handle the heavy going. Both of them are fine."

HE SAID WHAT?! Blues goalie Brian Elliott on how his squad was happy to get the game through OT, knowing they have some deadly shootout threats:

"Just getting it to overtime, you get that point in your back pocket. I think guys relax a little bit because we know that we have some good shooters in the shootout and if we make a save or two in the back end it works out.

"Before the third period (Vladimir) Tarasenko was next to me in the urinal and he was saying, 'Keep going.' And I said, 'Go get one for me' and he did in the end."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2014 B7

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Updated on Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 9:05 AM CST: Photo changes

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