The Winnipeg Jets got their emotional investment, and then some, after Blake Wheeler’s plea to his teammates this week.

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This article was published 14/1/2016 (2322 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Winnipeg Jets got their emotional investment, and then some, after Blake Wheeler’s plea to his teammates this week.

And it was the man himself who played the hero, scoring 51 seconds into overtime in a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators in a key Central Division battle.

The win improves the Jets to 20-21-3 and moves them to within three points of the Preds, now 19-18-8.

Taking their cue from Wheeler, who on Wednesday publicly declared the Jets needed more emotion in the game, the Jets exploded for three goals in the second period to wipe out a 1-0 deficit in a game they needed to win to stop a three-game (0-2-1) winless streak that included two listless efforts in home losses to Buffalo and San Jose earlier this week.

Dustin Byfuglien scored twice in the second, his 11th and 12th of the season, while Bryan Little scored on the power-play to bring the Jets to life. Nikolaj Ehlers gave the Jets a three-goal cushion with a breakaway early in the third but Preds rally on goals Ryan Johansen, Eric Nystrom and, with just 13.5 seconds left, James Neal.

The Jets gave up the opening goal just 59 seconds into the game when Kevin Fiala scored his first career goal. Initially it looked like Fiala’s shot had been stopped – with Connor Hellebuyck robbing Ryan Johansen on the rebound – but video review confirmed it had hit the back of the net.

The concerning news is this: Byfuglien did not finish the game after getting tangled up with Cody Bass in the third period along the boards. He was helped off the ice by the Jets trainer while doubled-over in pain and holding his arm.

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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