Blake Wheeler scores twice for Winnipeg Jets in 6-4 win over Minnesota Wild - InfoNews

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Blake Wheeler scores twice for Winnipeg Jets in 6-4 win over Minnesota Wild

Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Al Montoya (35) saves the shot from Minnesota Wild's Charlie Coyle (3) as Jets' Tobias Enstrom (39) covers him for the rebound during third period NHL action in Winnipeg on Friday, December 27, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
December 27, 2013 - 7:51 PM

WINNIPEG - Blake Wheeler scored two goals, including the game-winner, as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Minnesota Wild 6-4 on Friday night.

Wheeler ended a scramble in front of the Minnesota net when he poked the puck under a prone Niklas Backstrom with 9:20 remaining in the third period for his 14th goal of the season, giving the Jets a 5-4 lead.

Evander Kane, Olli Jokinen, Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom added goals for Winnipeg. Dany Heatley, Justin Fontaine, Stephane Veilleux and Mikko Koivu were the goal scorers for Minnesota.

The Jets (17-18-5), who were coming off a humbling loss in Edmonton on Monday, finally managed to beat the Wild after losing each of the first three meetings between the teams.

It was a fourth straight loss for the Wild (20-14-5), who have now dropped six of their last eight games.

Neither team seemed interested in playing defence after the three-day Christmas break.

The Jets led 4-3 after a wacky first period that saw seven goals scored in the first 7:04, and featured three lead changes.

Minnesota struck first when Heatley scored on a wide-open net after a pass from Jason Pominville 2:13 into the game. But the Jets grabbed the lead before the game was six minutes old thanks to a short-handed goal by Kane and a one-timer in the low slot by Jokinen.

It only took another 67 seconds for the Wild to go ahead 3-2, on goals by Fontaine and Veilleux. That ended Ondrej Pavelec's outing. The Jets' starting goalie smashed his stick en route to the dressing room after allowing three goals on six shots, giving way to backup Al Montoya.

After nearly eight scoreless minutes, the Jets once again claimed the lead on late-period goals from Wheeler and Byfuglien. Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom allowed four goals on 11 first-period shots, and finished with 32 saves on 37 total shots.

The lone goal in the second period came on a Wild power play, as a perfect passing sequence ended with an easy goal for Koivu to tie the game at 4-4.

That was the only blemish for Montoya, who stopped the other 22 shots he faced.

Enstrom added an empty-net goal from 175 feet with four seconds remaining.

The Wild won each of the three previous meetings by one goal, including a shootout victory on Nov. 23.

Both clubs return to action on Sunday, with the Jets travelling to Denver while the Wild head home to face the New York Islanders.

Notes: Zach Parise, dealing with a lower-body injury, missed a second straight game for the Wild. ... The Jets were without defencemen Zach Bogosian (flu) and Mark Stuart, who was a late scratch with a lower-body injury after taking the morning skate. ... The teams have one remaining meeting, in Winnipeg on April 7.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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