If you went to the Winnipeg Jets’ house for Sunday dinner, sorry about that fly in the soup and they didn’t mean to make such a mess of the souffle, but hey, wasn’t that main course a winner?

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This article was published 24/10/2015 (2234 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If you went to the Winnipeg Jets’ house for Sunday dinner, sorry about that fly in the soup and they didn’t mean to make such a mess of the souffle, but hey, wasn’t that main course a winner?

After Minnesota’s Jason Zucker scored 10 seconds into the game (the fly), the Jets rocketed back for the next five goals before the game was 25 minutes old (main course), then held on through a tense finish (souffle) for a 5-4 victory over the Wild at the MTS Centre.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson (34) and Tyler Myers (57) celebrate after defeating the Minnesota Wild 5-4 Sunday at the MTS Centre.

TREVOR HAGAN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson (34) and Tyler Myers (57) celebrate after defeating the Minnesota Wild 5-4 Sunday at the MTS Centre.

"It wasn’t pretty but we got it done," said Jets centre Bryan Little, who answered Zucker’s goal in 72 seconds and then helped his team win the Central Division battle to pull even with the Wild at 5-2-1.

Zucker undressed Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba for the quick strike, but the home team was ahead after Little and captain Andrew Ladd scored before the four-minute mark.

A goal by rookie Nikolaj Ehlers, then two by veteran Drew Stafford — the first chasing Minnesota starter Darcy Kuemper — gave the game the looks of a laugher.

But the Wild had a power-play marker from captain Mikko Koivu, then goals by Justin Fontaine and Zach Parise to make for a tight final 10 minutes that included a Minnesota power play with 2:03 to go.

"That’s a formula for a winning team, you kind of let those go," Stafford said about Zucker’s opening goal. "As frustrating as it is to have a start like that, you have to respond and we did. Then we let them off the hook a little when it was 5-1.

"That’s habits that we still have to learn. It’s still early in the season. We’ll learn how to play the right way when we have a lead like that. For us to finish it off the way we did, it’s all good."

Streak goes on 

Jets right-winger Blake Wheeler assisted on the early goals by Little and Ladd to extend his points streak to eight games. The run, four goals and seven assists, is a franchise record and is the best assists and points streak going today in the NHL.

Front-to-back style aside, Wheeler saw the silver lining after the victory.

"You have to give them a lot of credit," he said. "They’re on a back-to-back and down 5-1 and they kept their foot on the gas. It’s never over in this league. It’s a good lesson to learn early on."

Leading is hard

Clearly the Jets didn’t play with the same swiftness and puck movement after they got ahead 5-1. 

"You have a tendency to take a breath and I think that’s what happened," Ladd said. "We maybe stopped pressuring up ice and moving our feet and allowed them to get their game going a bit.

"That kind of thing happens, but at the end of the day, you like the way we handled that last five minutes, you take the two points and go. The bench was great. There was no panic on the bench. I think we felt in control of the game still."

Penalty issue

When the Jets hit bumps in the road, you can often trace it to a penalty or penalties.

The NHL’s most short-handed team last season took one in the second period that coach Paul Maurice didn’t like at all — an elbowing call on Alex Burmistrov — and thought it changed the game’s flow.

"I don’t think it was that difficult," Maurice said about playing with the 5-1 lead. "We took a penalty we can’t take and it’s a nice shot (for Koivu’s goal).

"The next two (goals) for me are fairly simple plays we have to make that we didn’t. But you’ve got to learn, and we will learn, over the course of the year on how to move our legs."

Homestand continues

Now at 2-1-1 in this season-long six-game homestand, the Jets get the Los Angeles Kings next.

That game is Tuesday night at the MTS Centre and will be followed by the finale Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca