Wheeler, Ehlers lead Jets to 6-1 rout of Avalanche
- Caps blank Lightning to force Game 7
- Isles to hire ex-Devils GM Lamoriello
- Wild hire Fenton as new general manager
- Devils sign KHL veteran D Yakovlev
- 'Misfit' Knights again defy doubters
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Connor Hellebuyck was kicking himself a little bit - even though his Winnipeg Jets won.
Making his 10th straight start, the Jets goalie almost had his second consecutive shutout until Gabriel Landeskog tipped in a goal with 15.4 seconds left in Winnipeg's 6-1 rout of the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
"You have no idea. That is the worst feeling ever," Hellebuyck said of the late goal. "But we got the win, so I'm happy."
Hellebuyck made 22 saves, just a day after he had a 29-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues.
"I know I made a mistake sliding out a little bit," he said. "I think I got a little goalie interference before that, too. Maybe they call that back but, whatever, we got the win."
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 second and the third (periods), it's just frustration," Landeskog said. "And guys start to fragment and go off on their own pages and all of a sudden you look like a junior C team."
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.
"We just came out not ready to play," Colorado defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. "At one point, you've got to start showing some pride. This is the NHL, and right now we're just playing (pick-up) hockey. It's just embarrassing."
Winnipeg has scored three or more goals in each of its last eight games and is 5-1-2 during that span.
"It was a carryover from (Friday)," said Wheeler, who has three goals and three assists in his last two games. "I think we were excited about our game after a huge game."
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. Ehlers believes a playoff berth can be a reality.
"That's our goal and the way we're playing right now, we feel like we have the chance to make that wild-card spot," Ehlers said. "We've just got to keep playing like this."
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.
"Tonight, it wasn't Calvin's fault," Landeskog said. "We fell behind. It was the other 23 guys in this dressing room."
Avalanche: Host St. Louis on Sunday.
Jets: Host San Jose on Monday.
Updated March 5, 2017