Wheeler scores 2 to lead Jets to 6-5 win over Senators
Wheeler scored twice and Andrew Copp had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Ottawa Senators 6-5 on Monday night.
Josh Morrissey, Brandon Tanev and Mathieu Perreault also scored for the Jets, who pulled five points behind first-place Nashville in the Central Division with three games remaining. Adam Lowry and Mark Scheifele each had two assists, and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32 shots.
”They played hard and didn’t quit so you have to give them credit,” Wheeler said. ”It’s two points, it’s a win. Obviously there’s areas we can be better, but we scored one more goal than they did.”
”Fans probably loved seeing 11 goals, but for a coach not so much,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. ”We did enough offensively to win the game, but when you don’t defend as well as you attack offensively it makes it difficult.”
The Senators pulled to 5-4 at 4:47 of the third as Wolanin beat Hellebuyck glove side. However, Perreault restored the Jets’ two-goal lead on the power play with 5:22 remaining.
Duchene pulled Ottawa within one again on Duchene’s second power-play goal of the ninth with 1:05 to go.
The Senators trailed 3-0 less than 12 minutes into the game, before Chabot got them on the scoreboard as he beat Hellebuyck with 1:34 left in the opening period. Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson recorded an assist on the play, giving him his fifth straight 60-point season and seventh of his career.
Duchene pulled the Senators within one 1:28 into the second.
However, Tanev scored short-handed nearly five minutes later to push the Jets’ lead to 4-2.
Ottawa got within one again as Chabot scored his second of the night for his first multigoal game with just over eight minuts left in the second, but Winnipeg scored again less than a minute later with Wheeler picking up his second.
After the game, Karlsson picked up the game puck before skating to the locker room. While he downplayed the significance of the act, it might have been his last time on home ice in Ottawa. The star defenseman was the subject of talks heading into the trade deadline in late February, and there’s speculation he could be dealt in the offseason.
”I don’t know why I did it, it was just laying there,” Karlsson said. ”I didn’t really think about that (being my last game) and I didn’t think that you guys (the media) would ever pick that up either, but there’s a lot of cameras out there.”
Karlsson has one year remaining on his contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent after next season, and while the Senators say they want to re-sign the 27-year-old he could be moved if the two sides reach a new deal.
Ottawa wraps up the season with three road games, but there’s a chance Karlsson will not make the trip – something he said he hadn’t given much thought to.
”I read a lot of things and I don’t read too much into it, but obviously the word is out there from you guys that it might be my last home game,” he said. ”But it’s not something I thought about going into this game and it’s not something I’ll probably think about for a while.”
Copp opened the scoring just 2:42 into the game as he pounced on a rebound in front. Morrissey made it 2-0 with a shot from the point and Wheeler’s first extended the lead to 3-0 just 21 seconds later.
Jets: At Montreal on Tuesday night before closing the season with two home games.
Senators: At Buffalo on Wednesday night to open a season-ending three-game trip.