Wheeler keeps Jets alive and kicking in the race for eighth

WINNIPEG, MB – With time running out on the Winnipeg Jets on the playoff chase, they got just what they needed, a huge OT victory over the Colorado Avalanche, 5-4, and more importantly they got two points to climb back to within four of eighth place.

Blake Wheeler

Blake Wheeler’s OT goal lifted Jets to win – image courtesy of NHL

With all the injuries the Jets have, it was even worse when they found out that Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian were both out of the line up for Wednesday’s game but things worked out as replacements Paul Postma and Eric Tangradi both chipped in with big minutes and both contributed points.

“You need those guys to come in and give you something and not just hold the sweater,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “They’ve got to give you something if you’re going to win, and those guys have done that for us.”

Al Montoya making his third straight start with Ondrej Pavelec still nursing a lower body injury made 23 saves off 27 shots to get his 12th win of the season.

“This team, we battled,” Montoya said. “That’s what happens this time of year. That’s why you count on your depth and you don’t really worry about who is playing on the ice. You just go out there and try to do what you can. We stuck to the plan and wore them down.”

Avalanche goalie Reto Berra who was making his first start with the Avalanche made 22 saves off 27 shots taking the loss.

Winnipeg got goals from Andrew Ladd who got his 20th and 21st , Tangradi got his 2nd, Evander Kane his 17th , Blake Wheeler got the OT winner his 24th.

Wheeler was also named the games second star as he had a goal and two assists , Ladd was the named the game’s first star .

“You’d like to be able to close that one out in regulation but that’s not the way it works,” Wheeler said. “That’s not the way it’s been this year for us, for whatever reason. We’ve been through a lot of highs and lows, but the thing you can say about our group is we’ve stuck with it all year, and we stuck with it.”

Colorado goal scorers were Ryan O’Reilly who got his 26th , Gabriel Landeskog his 21st , Nick Holden his 8th , Cody McLeod his 3rd of the year .

This was a back and forth hard hitting game as four goals were scored in the opening period.

“I think we showed that we easily could have packed it in when [Winnipeg] scored [the fourth goal],” the Avs’ Gabriel Landeskog said. “But we kept battling and doing the little things, chipping pucks out, chipping pucks in. I think that’s a sign of maturity. [Roy] has done a great job of preparing us for every single game. He has his experience, so every time he opens his mouth, we’re like sponges and trying to soak it all in.”

The teams’ two heavyweights Anthony Peluso of Winnipeg and Patrick Bordeleau from the Avalanche dropped the gloves for a spirited tilt in the second period .

The fans got their money’s worth as they saw a bunch of goals , some hard hits , a great scrap and the home team got the win in OT .http://

The Jets will have a few days off before welcoming the Carolina Hurricanes to the MTS Centre on Saturday night and look to get another must needed win before heading out on the road for five games.

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