NHL: Jets defeat Wild 6-4
WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Blake Wheeler poked in a loose puck for his second goal of the game with 9:20 left in the third period to snap a tie and Winnipeg held on to hand visiting Minnesota its fourth consecutive defeat.
Evander Kane, Olli Jokinen and defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom also scored while rookie blue-liner Jacob Trouba added a pair of assists for the Jets, who defeated the Wild for the first time in four tries this season. Al Montoya made 22 saves for the victory after replacing starter Ondrej Pavelec, who allowed three goals on six shots.
Captain Mikko Koivu, Justin Fontaine, Dany Heatley and Stephane Veilleux had goals and Jason Pominvillerecorded two assists for Minnesota. Niklas Backstrom turned aside 32 shots for the Wild, who pressured for the tying goal before Enstrom's empty-netter with four seconds left.
Heatley converted a cross-ice pass from Pominville 2:13 into the game, but Kane responded with a short-handed tally and Jokinen scored in close over the next 3:44 for a 2-1 lead. Fontaine popped in his own rebound at 6:54 and Veilleux beat Pavelec from the left circle another 10 seconds later.
Winnipeg ended the offensive explosion in the first period with a goal from Wheeler on a deflection at 14:50 and Byfuglien's rebound tally with 2:10 left as the Jets seized a 4-3 edge. Koivu tied the game 3:40 into the middle session on the power play, redirecting a nifty centering pass from Charlie Coyle.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Minnesota LW Zach Parise missed his second straight contest with a lower-body injury and G Josh Harding was activated after missing three games to get a new treatment for his multiple sclerosis, but did not dress. ... Winnipeg D Mark Stuart was scratched due to a lower-body injury, allowing D Julian Melchiori to make his NHL debut. He logged 8:41 of ice time. ... Veilleux scored his first goal since Feb. 2, 2010 when he was with Tampa Bay, ending a 59-game drought.