Scheifele's first hat trick leads Jets past Canadiens 4-2
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Mark Scheifele had the performance of his young career for the Winnipeg Jets.
Scheifele's first career three-goal game lifted the Jets over the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Saturday night. His empty-netter late in the third period capped the scoring and helped snap Winnipeg's six-game home winless streak.
''Scoring a hat trick against the Montreal Canadiens on `Hockey Night in Canada,' it's kind of one of those things that you dream of as a kid,'' Scheifele said. ''So, I'm definitely pretty jacked up right now. It's unbelievable. It's just something that you dream about.''
Rookie Andrew Copp had his third goal of the season for the Jets.
Alex Galchenyuk scored twice for Montreal, which dropped its fourth straight game.
''Other than the result, I have to look at the performance of the young players,'' Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. ''We've got nine rookies and even a guy like (Galchenyuk), we pay attention to him. The result's not there, but there's a lot of good things we see from those kids.''
Scheifele opened the scoring 4:10 into the second period, catching Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban at the end of a power-play shift that lasted 2:19. Inside the Montreal zone, Scheifele stole the puck from Subban and broke in all alone before beating Mike Condon with a quick backhand finish.
The 22-year-old Scheifele added to his career high for goals with Nos. 18, 19 and 20 of the season. Serving as Winnipeg's No. 1 center since Bryan Little fractured a vertebrae, Scheifele now has seven goals and five assists over his last eight games.
The Canadiens tied it just 1:13 later. Max Pacioretty made a backhand between-the-legs pass to Galchenyuk in the slot, and Galchenyuk's one-timer beat Ondrej Pavelec to make it 1-1.
Winnipeg took the lead again at 5:57 of the third when Ben Chiarot's point shot was deflected by Copp. It was his second goal in his last three games to put his season total at three.
''I think it's confidence,'' said Copp, who snapped a 35-game goal drought on Tuesday night. ''Confidence with the puck, and stuff starts to go in as soon as you're on the puck and you're doing all the right things when you're away from it, too.''
Galchenyuk scored for a second time midway through the third, deflecting Greg Pateryn's point shot to tie it at 2.
Scheifele's winner came at 13:01 of the third before completing the hat trick with 29 seconds remaining.
''I was a little skeptical,'' Scheifele said of the race to the puck with Subban inside Montreal's zone. ''I thought I had a good head of steam going in and (Subban) kind of took a good route. At first, I thought he might have got to it. It was depending on the bounce. I just kind of tried to get inside positioning on him and I think he was definitely pretty tired.
''He probably played the last four minutes of that game so I think I had a little bit of an edge over him.''
NOTES: Pavelec stopped 26 of 28 shots for his seventh win of the season after missing nearly three months with a knee injury. ... Condon saved 25 of the 28 shots he faced. ... The Canadiens, winless to complete their three-game road trip and victorious in just one of their last 10 on the road, now head home for a four-game homestand. The Jets complete their final back-to-back of the season as they host the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.