Wheeler-Scheifele-Stafford combo driving Jets’ offence

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In the “banged-up” state of the Winnipeg Jets lineup — words from head coach Paul Maurice — right-winger Blake Wheeler isn’t waiting around to see who will step up to carry the load.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/03/2015 (2811 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In the “banged-up” state of the Winnipeg Jets lineup — words from head coach Paul Maurice — right-winger Blake Wheeler isn’t waiting around to see who will step up to carry the load.

Wheeler continued to be a force with a three-point night to lead the Jets past the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Tuesday night.

The 28-year-old Minnesotan has been setting a sharp pace for his team with big goals and forceful play. His points streak is now at five games, with five goals and nine points.

JOhn Woods / Winnipeg Free Press Winnipeg Jets' Drew Stafford (12), Blake Wheeler (26) and Mark Scheifele (55) celebrate Wheeler's second-period goal against the San Jose Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock (32). The Jets won the game 5-2.

“Individually I thought he was really good Saturday but as a line, that whole line tonight,” Maurice said. “Every time we put them on the ice something good happened.”

Wheeler scored the third-period winner Saturday in Tampa and had goals in the second and third Tuesday.

“We were excited to come back and get things going,” Wheeler said. “We had a great plane ride after that Tampa Bay game. That was just a gutty win and we all felt pretty good about ourselves.

“We had a good day of practice yesterday. We realized where we’re at and we realized the excitement surrounding our team right now and getting in front of our home fans.

“That gave us a little extra push tonight.”

The line, with Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford, clicked for three of the Jets’ goals and eight points on Tuesday night. 

“Those two guys are buzzing right now,” Wheeler said. “When Scheifs is skating like he is right now, he’s great to play with. Staff is just so strong on the puck, he makes such simple plays, I think it’s a great complement for the two of us. I think we’re going well right now; it feels good to click this time of year.”

Stafford said little has surprised him about his fellow Minnesotan since coming to the Jets in a February trade.

“I’ve known him for quite a while, know the type of player he is, his personality,” Stafford said. “It’s not really much of a surprise. Just playing with him, you definitely have an extra appreciation that he’s a heck of a player.

“I’m just trying to ride this wave as much as I can playing with guys like him and Scheifele. We have some great chemistry. He’s fun to watch and he’s an exciting player, and clutch lately.

“Same with Scheif. He’s had a lot asked of him, especially with some of the bodies out of our lineup but they’ve stepped up for sure.” 

Maurice said the chemistry between Wheeler and Scheifele is well-established.

“Mark has really stepped up his game here in the last couple of weeks,” the coach said. “He’s faster now, more sure with the puck. Confidence goes a long way to that. He’s feeling good with the puck, shooting it now. We saw so many of those shots early in the year crack the post for him.

“Now they’re starting to go in.”

“Because of their speed, they’re hard to handle.”

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

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Updated on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 9:05 AM CDT: Corrects typo

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