Scheifele extends points streak, Jets beat Avs 3-2
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice says this is some of the best hockey Mark Scheifele has ever played.
Scheifele had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to seven games and the Jets erased a two-goal deficit to beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Saturday night.
Since an injury to Bryan Little on Feb. 18 bumped Scheifele to Winnipeg’s top line, he has 10 goals and 18 points, including five multipoint games.
“We’ve talked about Mark Scheifele for about three weeks because he’s scoring all these points,” Maurice said. “That was his finest game in the last three weeks regardless of the hat trick (on March 5) or any of the other games.
“He played a fantastic game down low — hard game down low. And then scores the goal. That’s as good a game as I’ve seen Mark play in a long, long time.”
Scheifele has seven goals and four assists during his current streak.
“I’ve been playing the same hockey,” Scheifele said. “Every day I want to become a better hockey player. Obviously, I’ve taken this challenge with a lot of motivation being with (Little) out. I obviously come to the rink with a lot more motivation knowing I’ll be playing tougher players in tougher matchups.”
Adam Lowry scored the winner 9:01 into the third period after Drew Stafford tied it less than 2 minutes earlier. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 35 shots.
Matt Duchene scored his 29th of the season for the Avalanche and added an assist on Erik Johnson’s second-period goal. Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves.
“We’ve got to be better defensively,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “We made some mistakes at key moments, and it was a bad turnover on the third goal. We need to be better in those moments of the game.”
The Jets improved to 1-25-3 when trailing after 40 minutes.
Grasping tightly to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Avalanche dropped the first of their four-game Western Canada swing that now heads through Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton this week.
Entering Saturday 2-10-1 in their last 13 at home, the Jets improved to 15-17-2 at MTS Centre this season.
The Avalanche opened the scoring 4:02 into the second period following a Jets turnover in the Colorado zone. Duchene raced up the ice and entered the Winnipeg zone before centering a pass to a streaking Johnson, who beat Pavelec for his 10th of the season.
Less than 2 minutes later, Duchene added to Colorado’s lead with Winnipeg rookie Scott Kosmachuk off for goaltender interference. A wild scramble ensued in front of the Jets net, with Pavelec making a spectacular diving save with the paddle of his stick on Jarome Iginla before Duchene jammed the puck in to make it 2-0 at the 5:55 mark.
“You never have it in the bag in this league,” said Duchene, whose power-play goal snapped a 17-for-17 penalty-killing streak for Winnipeg, dating back six games. “It’s an unfortunate loss to a team that, you know, we should be more desperate than. They played well, but we have to find a way to win that game.”
Winnipeg then cut into Colorado’s lead late in the second. With Cody McLeod off for tripping, the Jets went to the power play for a fourth time and converted with Scheifele’s 22nd of the season.
The Jets then found the equalizer and took the lead in a span of just 1:35 in the third period. At the 7:26 mark, Stafford pulled the puck off Varlamov’s pad and went skate-to-stick for his 17th.
Lowry’s fifth of the season snapped a 17-game goal-scoring drought for the sophomore center.
NOTES: The Avalanche next play at the Canucks on Wednesday night. ... The Jets play at the Canucks on Monday night.