WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP)Mark Scheifele had three goals and an assist, and the Winnipeg Jets beat the New Jersey Devils 8-4 Friday night.
Nikolaj Ehlers scored twice, and Kristian Vesalainen, Josh Morrissey and Adam Lowry also each scored for the Jets. Blake Wheeler had three assists and Pierre-Luc Dubois Neal Pionk each added two. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 33 shots.
”We had a tough stretch of hockey,” Scheifele said. ”We weren’t happy with our game. But when you do the right things over and over, do the simple things, good things happen. I think tonight was just an example of that.”
Ryan Graves had a goal and an assist, and Jack Hughes, Damon Severson and Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils. Jonathan Bernier gave up six goals on 32 shots through two periods. Mackenzie Blackwood took over in the third period and finished with six saves.
The Jets led 3-0 less than eight minutes into game before Severson and Hughes brought the Devils within one at the end of the first period. Hischier and Graves scored 39 seconds apart to give New Jersey the lead 1:16 into the second.
”We were down 3-0, we battled back hard,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. ”The first eight minutes (of the second period) was just all us. Did some fatigue hit us? Yes. It’s always frustrating to work that hard and not be able to complete the deal . We had all kinds of opportunities to keep coming back but we didn’t complete the deal.”
Ehlers’ second of the night tied it 4-4 midway through the second, with Andrew Copp getting the 100th assist of his career on the play. Morrissey’s point shot trickled in off a player in front of Bernier with 4 1/2 minutes left in the period to put the Jets ahead for good.
”It (two goals) obviously means a lot,” Ehlers said. ”You want to help the team any way you can and a lot of the guys were able to get a point on a goal. Scoring points is fun, there’s no secret to that. But I think, overall, we played a game that gave us a chance to win and we deserve it.”
Scheifele scored his second of the game on the power play with 6 seconds left in the middle period after he took a pass from Pionk, skated the length of the ice and finished it off by beating Bernier. Hellebuyck also had an assist on the play.
Scheifele his hat trick on a one-timer off a pass from Wheeler at 9:36 of the third to give Winnipeg a 7-4 lead. Lowry capped the scoring with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
”We have to clean up our D-zone,” Hischier said. ”There’s no way in this league you’re going to win hockey games when you get scored on that many times, and that’s what happened today. So, we definitely got to clean up.”
The Jets were playing for the first time since Monday after eight games in 14 days.
”We were able to get some rest, we were able to get fresh legs and you guys saw that tonight, a lot of guys had a little more pop in their step,” said Scheifele. ”Having that much time off is huge after having the amount of games we’ve played in such a short time. We used that to our advantage.”
Scheifele, who had not scored a goal in his previous seven games, opened the scoring just 1:52 into the game as he took a pass from Pionk, stickhandled passed the defense, then backhanded a shot over Bernier’s right shoulder.
Ehlers, who ended a five-game goal-scoring drought, got his first of the night when he snapped a shot over Bernier’s left shoulder at 3:52, and Vesalainen converted a perfect set up by Paul Stastny at the 7:39 mark to make it 3-0.
Severson beat Hellebuyck over his right shoulder from inside the face-off circle at 9:08 of the first to get the Devils on the scoreboard. Hughes scored with just 24 seconds left in the opening period when he pounced on a rebound in front of Hellebuyck.
Devils: Host Ottawa on Monday night to open a three-game homestand.
Jets: Host Toronto on Sunday in the middle game of a three-game homestand.
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