After scoring just nine goals in a 1-5-1 stretch, the Winnipeg Jets exploded for eight goals in an 8-4 victory over a New Jersey Devils team playing for the second night in a row.
It didn’t take long for the Jets to cheer up the crowd when Mark Scheifele found himself alone nearby and put a slump on Jonathan Bernier before roofing him.
Exactly two minutes later, Nikolaj Ehlers scored a good pass from Pierre-Luc Dubois off the post and edged past Bernier to make it 2-0.
The attack continued less than four minutes later. Damon Severson made a terrible loss behind his own net, Paul Stastny picked it up and fed Kristian Vesalainen just up front for his second of the year.
It looked like the Jets had made amends for their November crash, but the good vibes didn’t last long.
The Jets’ lousy death penalty reared its ugly head when Severson ran over Connor Hellebuyck on the power play near the middle of the period.
Winnipeg nearly slipped out of the first 20 minutes with a two-goal lead, but Jack Hughes hit a rebound to cut the lead to one with just 24 seconds to go.
The devils would be out the doors in the second. Nico Hischier tied the game just 37 seconds and 39 seconds later, a shot from Ryan Graves went off Josh Morrissey’s head and into the net, giving the visitors the advantage.
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Three goals allowed at 1:40 left the Jets in shock, and New Jersey came close to making it a 5-3 game later in the period, but a Hellebuyck attempt hit the post.
Just after the middle of the second, the Jets tied the game when Ehlers scored his second of the game, kicking a Dubois pass from his skid to the post and passing Bernier.
The Jets regained the lead at the 3:26 p.m. mark when Blake Wheeler’s point shot deflected from Morrissey, lost most of his momentum and bounced through Bernier.
Just before the end of the period and with Winnipeg on a power play, Scheifele took the puck on its own end for one last run and buried a shot to the wrist that should have been stopped by Bernier.
He snapped a 2-for-38 streak with the team’s man lead, gave the home team a 6-4 lead after two periods of ups and downs and marked the end of the night for Bernier when he was replaced by Mackenzie Blackwood. .
After nearly eight minutes without a whistle in the third, Scheifele would score the fourth hat trick of her career. Kyle Connor sped through the neutral zone, left it to Wheeler, who made a cross pass that Scheifele passed Blackwood for the only time, causing the hats to fly at the Canada Life Center.
Just in case, a Logan Stanley wrist shot deflected on Blackwood late in the third to make it 8-4, the first of the season for the great defender.
Hellebuyck finished with 33 saves on the night, while Bernier faced defeat, stopping 26 of the 32 shots he faced.
The Jets will return to action Sunday night at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs in what will be the 1,000th game of Wheeler’s NHL career.