Scheifele scores again, Jets top Wild 5-1 in final home game
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild remain in great shape to make the playoffs. Still, they know they won't last long if they play this way - and they're running out of time to find their game.
Mark Scheifele scored his team-leading 27th goal and the Winnipeg Jets gave their fans something to cheer about in their last home game of the season Sunday night, a 5-1 victory over the Wild.
Minnesota dropped its third straight and squandered a chance to clinch a postseason spot.
''We're going to get throttled if we're going to play like this going in,'' Dubnyk said. ''I'm not worried about it. I don't think we are. But I think we all know that's not even going to come close come playoff time.
''We don't want to be sliding in. We've got two games to get on track and get going and I'm sure that's what we'll do.''
Dubnyk stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced. Wild center Mikael Granlund scored his 13th goal of the season, with Mikko Koivu picking up an assist to give him 10 points in his last 10 games, including two goals.
Minnesota could have secured a Western Conference wild card with a win once Colorado lost 5-1 to St. Louis. The Wild hold the second wild-card spot with 87 points and remain five ahead of the Avalanche, who have a game in hand.
''I don't even care about the situation,'' Koivu said. ''We're talking about getting our team game better. You can win or you can lose, but as long as we play like that it's not acceptable.''
Minnesota ends its regular season hosting San Jose and Calgary.
''We're not gritty enough right now. We've got to pay the price a lot more,'' coach John Torchetti said. ''We've got to get back to our defensive game. We had to fight hard to get back into the game to make it 2-1, and then the very next shift we gave it right back to them.''
Fans gave the Jets a standing ovation and chanted ''Go Jets Go!'' during the final minute. Players raised their sticks to acknowledge the crowd after the final buzzer.
''It's great, just to kind of let them loose a little bit,'' fan favorite Chris Thorburn said. ''We haven't given much at home to cheer about.''
Thorburn ended a 47-game goal drought with his sixth of the season. Andrew Copp, Drew Stafford and Blake Wheeler, with an empty-netter, also scored for the Jets. Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves.
The Jets finished with an 18-19-4 home record and wrap up their season on a three-game road trip with stops in Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles.
''It's going to be a tough road trip, but we're not looking to just mail it in,'' Copp said. ''We're looking to go and win those games in California.''
Scheifele's goal extended his point streak to seven games, with four goals and 10 points during that span.
He recorded Winnipeg's first power-play goal in 11 games at 17:55 of the first period with Wild forward Nino Niederreiter in the penalty box for hooking.
Nikolaj Ehlers received a pass from Alexander Burmistrov at the bottom of the faceoff circle and then sent the puck across the front of the net to Scheifele, who fired it just inside the post.
Winnipeg outshot the Wild 13-7 in the opening period.
Thorburn's first goal since Dec. 15 came on a breakaway after a Wild pass hit the stick of Winnipeg's Matt Halischuk and slid up to Thorburn, who beat Dubnyk low on the blocker side at 12:37 of the second for a 2-0 lead.
Nikolaj Ehlers had come off the ice at a bad time with the Jets in their own end. Thorburn took Ehlers' place and let the rookie know about his mistake.
''It went from being a bad change to a great change,'' Thorburn said with a chuckle. ''As soon as I finished yelling at him when I was on the ice, the puck popped and I was just like, `Holy crow, I think I got a breakaway.' And I turned and no one was around. I went quick shot and I was fortunate it went in.''
Granlund made it 2-1 with his goal at 7:37 of the third, but Copp replied at 9:03 when he went between two defenders and put a shot between Dubnyk's pads.
Stafford notched his 21st goal of the season at 12:55 on the power play. Wheeler's empty-netter at 17:16 was his 23rd of the season.
''It's a lesson. We've got to be better than that,'' Koivu said.
NOTES: Wheeler extended his point streak to eight games. He has 11 points during that span, including five goals.