Miscue messes up overtime effort

Ehlers' pass somehow ends up in Jets' net

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DENVER – A lot of highlight-reel plays occur in overtime, but an own goal?

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/11/2016 (2210 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

DENVER – A lot of highlight-reel plays occur in overtime, but an own goal?

Winnipeg forward Nikolaj Ehlers fired a pass in his own end that somehow squeezed through the pads of goalie Michael Hutchinson 1:23 into the extra period to give the Colorado Avalanche a crazy 3-2 triumph over the Jets Friday night in Denver.

Ehlers was having an excellent night, registering a pair of assists on goals by Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, but his errant pass ruined it all.

David Zalubowski / The Associated Press Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele (right), gets called for a penalty while fighting for control of the puck with Colorado Avalanche defenceman Fedor Tyutin Friday.

The Danish-born winger was pinned against the boards, with two opponents covering him, when he tried to move the puck to blueliner Toby Enstrom.

“I thought I had two guys right by me and I just tried to throw it in the middle and get (our) two guys going,” he explained.

Colorado forward Rene Bourque was credited with the goal, his second of the night.

Jets head coach Paul Maurice said his club did plenty of things right, flukey goal notwithstanding.

“He threw the puck at the net, it shouldn’t have gone in. It’s a bad break,” said Maurice. “It really had nothing to do with the game or how we played. We played a really hard-fought road game. It’s a good point on the road, good effort.”

Hutchinson, starting for the first time in eight days, made 26 saves for the Jets (7-7-2). Winnipeg got three of four points on a short road trip through Phoenix and Denver.

Two weeks ago, Hutchinson shut out the Avs 1-0 at the Pepsi Center.

The game featured the season debut of defenceman Jacob Trouba, who was thrown right into fire and had to log big minutes when Tyler Myers went down with a lower-body injury early in the third period and did not return.

Down 2-0 in the second period, the travel-weary Jets fought back with two goals.

Jets head coach Maurice did some line juggling, transferring Ehlers to the second unit with Wheeler and centre Nic Petan and the move paid off.

The Winnipeg captain netted a crucial goal when his quick shot beat goalie Semyon Varlamov at 13:27 to trim Colorado’s lead to a goal.

The Jets went right back to the power play when Avs blue-liner Fedor Tyutin was called for high-sticking. Wheeler was the set-up guy this time, finding the NHL’s scoring leader, Scheifele, alone in front for the tying goal at the 16-minute mark.

Scheifele now has 10 goals and 10 assists.

The Avs have their own Finnish rookie who can launch a rocket. Mikko Rantanen fired the first goal of his young NHL career at 1:03 of the second period with Scheifele off for hooking.

Bourque scored his first of the game at 9:33 of the middle frame as the Avs built a 2-0 lead. Colorado defenceman Tyson Barrie did all the work, sliding in from the point and finding Bourque alone in front.

Hutchinson gets the call

Early on, Hutchinson showed no signs of rust, dropping down to make a great save on future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla just 49 seconds into the game.

He also stopped a hard drive by centre Nathan MacKinnon, stationed near the left wall with Colorado on a power play.

But his best work came in the final period as the Avs pressed to regain the lead, using a couple of late power-play chances to storm the Jets’ net.

Hutchinson hadn’t started since the Jets dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the host Washington Capitals Nov. 3. He also played a little over a period three nights later when Connor Hellebuyck was pulled against New York as the Rangers won 5-2.

His last game in Denver was a dandy. Hutchinson shut out the Avalanche when the teams met Oct. 28, a night when Shawn Matthias — currently out with a lower-body injury — notched the only goal of the game.

Prior to the game, Maurice said he doesn’t rely on a goaltender’s past performance against a certain team when selecting his starter.

He said the Avalanche tend to push bodies to the net, something the 26-year-old Barrie, Ont., has proven he can work around.

Trouba’s season debut

The Jets defenceman, who ended his holdout Monday and signed a two-year bridge deal, finally got his first taste of real action and skated on the right side with partner Ben Chiarot. Paul Postma was a healthy scratch.

When Tyler Myers left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury, Trouba joined Toby Enstrom on the second unit and played big minutes.

Trouba took a regular shift, killed penalties and was on the second power-play unit. He had a tremendous scoring chance in the second period with the Avs a man short but was stoned by Varlamov.

On his first shift, about 90 seconds into the game, he jostled with Colorado centre Joe Colborne directly in front of Hutchinson and then fenced with Avs tough guy Cody McLeod at the end of the shift.

He let a hard, low shot go three shifts later and then followed up with a burst of speed to gain the zone and a gave a great back-hand pass to Marko Dano cruising through the slot.

He was also one of a number of Jets guilty of standing around watching on Bourque’s firstgoal.

Prior to the game, Maurice said Trouba did plenty of work in practice to prepare but needed, and deserved, a genuine test.

“He’s worked on his hands and his feet to try to get him back up to speed, but he needs to get back into a game,” said Maurice. “The game’s different this year than in past, it is faster. You can do a lot of video and you can do a lot of short-area drills but eventually you gotta get on the ice and play a game.”

The Jets return to Winnipeg for a Sunday matinee against the Los Angeles Kings. Game time is 1 p.m. at MTS Centre.

 jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

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Updated on Friday, November 11, 2016 11:57 PM CST: Adds quotes

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