The Winnipeg Jets rebounded from a shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday to defeat the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-0 Thursday night at the MTS Centre.
Blake Wheeler scored twice and added an assist for Winnipeg who handed the reeling Montreal Canadiens their fifth straight loss.
The game got off to a bad start for Montreal when defenceman Hal Gill was given a four-minute penalty for high-sticking Kyle Wellwood early in the first period. The Jets capitalized quickly with Dustin Byfuglien making a nice cross crease pass to the waiting Wheeler who rifled a shot past a helpless Carey Price.
10 minutes later the Jets pieced together another beautiful passing play as Wellwood made a neat pass to Nik Antropov who then made an equally nice feed to Tanner Glass who finished the play that again left little chance for the Montreal goaltender.
Wheeler’s second of the game came just 40 seconds into the second stanza and all but closed the door on the lifeless Habs. Despite a string of four straight Winnipeg penalties in the second, Montreal never really came close to solving Ondrej Pavelec who stopped all 27 shots he faced en route to the shutout. It was his third shutout of the season and ninth in the young career of the 24-year-old Czech netminder.
Now with a record of 16-13-5 on the season, the win moved the Jets into a tie with the idle New Jersey Devils for the 8th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. There won’t be much to celebrate the win howvever as they will be back on MTS ice tomorrow night when they host the red hot Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins in what will be Winnipeg’s final pre-Christmas contest.