Wheeler and Scheifele reunite as Jets beat Kings
WINNIPEG -- It took the Winnipeg Jets more than half an hour to register their first goal of the game against Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
But that tally from Jansen Harkins, his second of the season, opened the floodgates for the Jets, who netted five more goals in the final 23 minutes of the game for a 6-3 final.
"They played well in the first, we didn't do enough to get going, and then we did," said head coach Paul Maurice. "Our forecheck got better, just our general speed of everything we did."
"We had chances, but didn't play 100-percent the way we wanted to," said Nikolaj Ehlers, who scored a goal and added a pair of assists. "We knew that we had to step up a little bit and do better, and we were able to do that, so that feels pretty good."
It was the reunited duo of Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, with Ehlers on the other wing, that would lead the way offensively for the Jets, combining for three goals and five assists.
"You're watching that backdoor goal thinking, "Man, I haven't seen that in a while, that felt good,"" said Maurice of his team's third goal, that saw Scheifele find Wheeler on a two-on-one break.
"It was awesome," said Scheifele of skating on the same line as Wheeler. "Obviously you guys know I love playing with Blake, and it was great to see some productivity, and it end up on the scoresheet."
After multiple years of productive play together, injuries have forced them to anchor their own lines for the better part of the season. But the latest episode of the "Scheifele and Wheeler Show" against the Kings may have swayed Maurice into making them a more permanent tandem.
"They certainly made a strong argument today," he said. "It's something that you know you like, you've seen it work so well, but we've had our challenges with pieces of lines."
"With the circumstances of the season, we don't really have that luxury," said Wheeler, who's pair of goals saw him reach the 20-goal mark for the eighth time in his career. "It's just about filling in and doing the best you can, and trying to plug in any holes that might come up. Obviously it's going to be Paul's decision going forward, but I think we made a pretty good case (to stay together) tonight."
A 4-2 record on their homestand sees the Jets improve to 31-25-5, good enough for 67 points, just a single point behind the idle Arizona Coyotes for the final playoff spot. They'll begin a four-game roadtrip on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators.