Wheeler, Ehlers lead Jets to 6-1 rout of Avalanche
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and two assists, leading the Winnipeg Jets to a 6-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.
Making his 10th straight start in goal, Connor Hellebuyck almost had his second straight shutout for the Jets until Gabriel Landeskog scored with 15.4 seconds left in the game. He made 22 saves a day after he had a 29-save shutout against the St. Louis Blues.
Patrik Laine scored his NHL rookie-leading 32nd goal, Mark Scheifele had his 27th, Ehlers notched his 21st and Wheeler his 20th.
Winnipeg defensemen Ben Chiarot added his first goal of the season in his 53rd game, and Jacob Trouba had his sixth.
Calvin Pickard was pulled from the Avalanche net after letting in five goals on 20 shots before being replaced midway through the second period by Jeremy Smith, who stopped 10 shots.
The Jets raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and stretched it to 5-0 at 9:05 of the second, which ended Pickard’s night.
Winnipeg has scored three or more goals in each of its last eight games and is 5-1-2 during that span. The Jets’ 66 points moved them two points behind the Los Angeles Kings, who held the second NHL Western Conference wild-card spot but were hosting Vancouver on Saturday. The idle St. Louis Blues have 67 points.
Laine opened the scoring at 4:22 of the first period when he had the puck in Colorado’s zone, circled around untouched and then fired a slap shot that went high over Pickard’s glove.
Wheeler and Scheifele made it 3-0 at 10:02 after scoring 15 seconds apart. Wheeler’s came on the power play over Pickard’s glove side again, while Scheifele took a fast feed from Laine and had an open side of the net to aim at.
Laine took a tripping penalty with 6 seconds left in the period, and Shawn Matthais was also called for tripping early in the second to give Colorado a 14-second two-man advantage, but the Avs came up empty.
Chiarot’s backhand shot at 7:03 made it 4-0, and Ehlers scored his goal with a tap-in off a pass from Wheeler 2:02 later.
Trouba scored at 13:54 of the third period after his shot went off the back of the glass and he slapped in the rebound.
Avalanche: Host St. Louis on Sunday.
Jets: Host San Jose on Monday.
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