Zucker, Eriksson Ek score late, Wild rally past the Jets
Published 6:57 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Joel Eriksson Ek didn’t need a review or a challenge to know he scored the game-winning goal for Minnesota against Winnipeg.
Eriksson Ek’s goal with 61 seconds left withstood both and the Wild rallied to beat the Jets 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Jason Zucker and Eriksson Ek scored 26 seconds apart in the last two minutes of the third period as the Wild notched their fourth straight win.
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Zucker beat a screened Connor Hellebuyck at 18:33, and Eriksson Ek had his goal withstand a review and a goaltender interference challenge by Winnipeg at 18:59.
“Yeah, it crossed the line and I knew it was in,” Eriksson Ek said of the loose puck. “It was nice it was not disallowed this time.”
Brad Hunt had the other goal for Minnesota, and Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves for the Wild, who won all four games against Winnipeg this season.
“They beat us four out of five last year when it counted so maybe it’s just how things work, but we’ve gotten lucky against them,” Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist and Mark Scheifele also scored for the Jets, who are 1-4-1 in their last six games.
Hellebuyck stopped 37 shots for Winnipeg.
“It’s obviously not a good finish,” Laine said. “That can’t happen. I think we played some good hockey until the tying goal. After that, we let it go for a bit, they scored two.”
After a pre-game ceremony to induct Lars-Erik Sjoberg and the late Ab McDonald into the Jets’ Hall of Fame, Scheifele kept the fans cheering.
Scheifele scored a power-play goal at 8:53 of the opening period for his first point in six games. Laine had the assist.
Hunt scored on a high shot past a screened Hellebuyck, tying the game at 11:50 of the second. But, 14 seconds later defenseman Ben Chiarot’s shot went off Laine for his 29th goal of the season.
Laine stretched his point streak to four games (four goals, two assists). He has goals in his past three games, coinciding with him playing on a line with Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. Laine hadn’t scored in 15 games before the change.
“They (Minnesota) didn’t have much at all,” Wheeler said. “It’s hard for us right now. We spend a lot of the game, not necessarily playing well, but doing enough to keep them kind of out of the danger zones and the wheels fall off at the end.”
Wheeler and Kyle Connor each also recorded an assist, extending their point streaks to four games with five points apiece.
Wild forward Ryan Donato, acquired in a trade with Boston on Feb. 20, had two assists. He has points in each of his first four games with his new team (one goal, five assists).
Winnipeg played its first game without defenseman Josh Morrissey, who’s out until at least early April with an upper-body injury after being hit into the boards in last Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Arizona.
Winnipeg picked up two blue-liners in six trades Monday. Nathan Beaulieu took Morrissey’s spot with Jacob Trouba. Defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich didn’t arrive until late Tuesday afternoon.
Kevin Hayes, who was acquired from the New York Rangers, made his debut with the Jets. He played between left-winger Mathieu Perreault and Nikolaj Ehlers. Winnipeg also added forwards Matt Hendricks from the Minnesota Wild and Par Lindholm from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both were scratched.
Kevin Fiala played his first game for Minnesota after being traded from Nashville. He lined up with center Luke Kunin and left-winger Zach Parise.
Wild: At Calgary on Saturday.
Jets: Host Nashville on Friday.