WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets (28-35-5) dug themselves out of a two goal deficit to beat the Colorado Avalanche (35-31-4) 3-2 at MTS Centre on Saturday.
The victory marks the first time this season the Jets won a game when trailing after two periods. Winnipeg was 0-24-3 heading into the Central Division clash.
The Avalanche opened the scoring 4:02 into the second frame as Erik Johnson buried a Matt Duchene feed. Duchene added to Colorado’s lead less than two minutes later by striking on a power play. Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec stretched across his crease to make a beautiful stick save just moments before Duchene slapped in the loose puck to make it 2-0. Winnipeg drew within one before the intermission thanks to Mark Scheifele’s team leading 22nd goal of the season. Scheifele capitalized on a man-advantage to extend his scoring streak to a career high seven games.
The Jets evened things up 7:26 into the third period when Drew Stafford swept a Scheifele rebound past Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov. Adam Lowry then gave Winnipeg its first lead of the night 1:35 later with his fifth goal of the year. Scott Kosmachuk, playing in just his third game with the Jets, forced an Avalanche turnover in the neutral zone to set up Lowry for the game winner. The assist marks Kosmachuk’s first career NHL point.
Pavelec made 35 saves for the win compared to Varlamov’s 27.
Winnipeg called up defenceman Julian Melchiori from the AHL’s Manitoba Moose on an emergency basis late Friday night. Melchiori was brought in due to a question mark on the Jets’ blueline but almost ended up playing forward after Blake Wheeler started to feel ill roughly 20 minutes before the game. Melchiori skated in the warm up but did not play as Wheeler toughed out the flu to finish with an assist off 13:55 of ice time. Melchiori was shipped back down to the Moose following the win.
The Jets return to the road for a two-game trip starting Monday night in Vancouver against the Canucks.
INFIRMARY INFORMATION: Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice updated the status of the team’s injured players prior to Saturday’s game. Anthony Peluso will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his shoulder. The length of Peluso’s recovery is pegged at 14 weeks.
Fellow forward Nikolaj Ehlers is now skating on his own after suffering an eye injury last week. Ehlers will be on a ‘light activity schedule’ up until Thursday. He has already been ruled out for Friday’s home game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Rookie Joel Armia is once again practicing after missing time with a lower-body injury. The forward is expected to be back in the lineup within a week.
Defenceman Mark Stuart is also back skating after breaking his hand against the Edmonton Oilers on February 13. Stuart will return once the bone fully heals.