Jets lose Wheeler to injury, then lose in shootout to Canucks 4-3

VANCOUVER – For Blake Wheeler and the Winnipeg Jets, it really was the best of times. Followed by the worst of times.

A record-breaking night for the captain, which included his long-awaited first goal of the year, ended with a twist on the ice in agony, squeezing his right knee after suffering a serious illness in the third period. That added injury to the possible insult of a 4-3 shootout loss to Vancouver in which Winnipeg had many glorious overtime chances to snatch the bonus point from the hosts.

“It’s going to take a while. We will have it reviewed (Saturday). I’m not a doctor, but it’s going to take a while, ”said somber Jets coach Paul Maurice after the game at Rogers Arena. “We’re going to heal him, we’ll find other players and we’ll find a way to do it without him.”

The concern was shared by many teammates, who came to celebrate Wheeler and his notorious durability when he skated in his 1,000th career regular-season game last Sunday.

“It was hard to see him on the ground like that. We just have to hope and pray for good news when we get more results. That’s all we can do,” said teammate Mark Scheifele. “We know he’s a warrior, he plays pretty much everything. Obviously there is always hope that he will come back. I hope we have better news when we get home and the doctors will examine it. All we can do is pray for good news. ”


Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat checks Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets in the first period. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck

Winnipeg, which plays on the road for a second night in a row after Thursday’s 3-0 win in Seattle, drops to 13-9-5 but is back above the line for the Conference playoffs. West with a single point. Vancouver improves to 11-15-2, including 3-0-0 under new coach Bruce Boudreau.

Maurice wasn’t lying when he said that Wheeler’s work, with Scheifele and Kyle Connor, could have been “as good as I’ve seen that line play”. They were absolutely dominant until Wheeler fell into a heap near the middle of the third period, the result of Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu accidentally slipping against him after getting tangled up with forward from Vancouver Vasily Podkolzin in a chaotic scrimmage in front of Winnipeg’s net.

“They were playing very well. They were buzzing, ”Jets forward Andrew Copp described the game in the top three.

Tanner Pearson des Canucks de Vancouver est arrêté par le gardien des Jets de Winnipeg Eric Comrie, au centre, au cours de la première période.  LA PRESSE CANADIENNE/Darryl Dyck</p>
<p>Vancouver Canucks Tanner Pearson is stopped by Winnipeg Jets goaltender Eric Comrie, center, in the first period.  THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck</p>
<p>Indeed.  After Nils Hoglander opened the scoring at 6:29 of the first period, Wheeler finally broke a regular-season scoring drought that stretched back to May 11, when he shot twice against the Canucks in the penultimate match of the abstract.  2021 campaign. It’s a period of 22 games, including the 21 he played this season until Friday.  A wrist shot on power play was sneaked by Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko, who was thrown by towering Pierre-Luc Dubois, and the monkey fell onto his back.  Wheeler actually pantomized by going up and throwing the imaginary burden into orbit.			</p>
<p>“He’s been coming for a long time. How many assists he got? It wasn’t a problem for us. He played left and right,” Copp said.			</p>
<p>Turns out he had just warmed up, including other dishes to come.  Wheeler had a safe goal stolen on the very next shift when Demko put a glove on the puck just before it crossed the goal line.  He was also disallowed on a breakaway near the end of the period, which Vancouver quickly returned for the go-ahead goal, a softie abandoned by Jets backup goaltender Eric Comrie on a Hoglander shot.			</p>
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Pierre-Luc Dubois des Jets de Winnipeg et Luke Schenn des Canucks de Vancouver se sont affrontés en première période.  LA PRESSE CANADIENNE/Darryl Dyck</p>
<p>Pierre-Luc Dubois of the Winnipeg Jets and Luke Schenn of the Vancouver Canucks met in the first period.  THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck</p>
<p>Wheeler played a direct role in resuming the game, setting Connor up for his 18th place lead at 6:09 of the second period.  Vancouver regained the lead just 57 seconds later, as Conor Garland came off the bench on a lane change, got behind the Winnipeg defense and scored on a breakaway.			</p>
<p>But then the front row started again, with Wheeler and Connor preparing Scheifele for a one-shot flare at 11:08, his seventh goal of the year.			</p>
<p>Then came a controversy.  The Jets appeared to have taken a 4-3 lead when Andrew Copp scored a few minutes later, but was swept off the board when Boudreau challenged for interference with the goaltender.  Replays showed Dubois made contact with Demko just before the puck came in.			</p>
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La jambe de Blake Wheeler des Jets de Winnipeg se plie au niveau du genou alors qu'il se bat pour la rondelle contre Vasily Podkolzin des Canucks de Vancouver, à l'avant droit, au cours de la troisième période.  Wheeler a quitté le match avec une blessure et n'est pas revenu sur la glace.  LA PRESSE CANADIENNE/Darryl Dyck</p>
<p>Winnipeg Jets’ Blake Wheeler’s leg bends at the knee as he fights for the puck against Vancouver Canucks right-forward Vasily Podkolzin in the third period.  Wheeler left the game with an injury and did not return to the ice.  THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck</p>
<p>Maurice was livid on the bench, no doubt remembering a call they were made last week in a game against Carolina.  Connor Hellebuyck turned around in a battle of folds shortly before the Hurricanes scored, but the goal was cleared due to the NHL’s ruling that it was accidental contact during the ‘a cowardly puck battle.			</p>
<p>“Well that’s it. I don’t like one of those two calls. I can’t tell you which one. But one of those two calls is wrong,” Maurice said after the game.			</p>
<p>Copp was also puzzled.			</p>
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Blake Wheeler des Jets de Winnipeg serre son genou alors qu'il est allongé sur la glace après s'être blessé en troisième période contre les Canucks à Vancouver, vendredi.  LA PRESSE CANADIENNE/Darryl Dyck</p>
<p>Winnipeg Jets’ Blake Wheeler squeezes his knee as he lies on the ice after being injured in the third period against the Canucks in Vancouver on Friday.  THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck</p>
<p>“You never know what to expect, honestly.  And it’s not just that, it’s just the complete lack of clarity on what goalkeeper interference is and what isn’t.  It could have been goalkeeper interference, of course.  If so, then probably the Hellebuyck once against Carolina probably is.  So I don’t think it’s just a call, it’s just a lack of clarity overall, ”he said.			</p>
<p>“Try not to put it in their hands I guess. Today’s one is a 50-50 puck, Dubie is going to bang through the back door and that’s the decision we got from the league. , that accidental contact on a 50-50 puck around the net is not goalkeeper interference, so that’s where we’re confused.			</p>
<p>After a scoreless third period, a wild overtime ensued in which the Jets had the puck for roughly the first four minutes, but couldn’t resolve Demko despite many glorious chances.  They survived a last-minute trigger call against Nikolaj Ehlers, which set the stage for a shootout.			</p>
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“We pretty much dominated those extra time. Breakaways, two-way duels. I think one of them lost their cup every now and then at the post or whatever. We had our chances, sometimes you have to. tip your cap, Demko made some big saves and held them in, ”said Scheifele.

“We played a great game. We did a lot of really good things. Sucks the shootouts will be the way to end it. You wish you could play three on three forever, until someone mark. This is how it is, we have to be happy with our game and look at the good stuff. Now we have some time to rest which is good. We have to take advantage of it and be ready for a little break here. ”

Elias Pettersson des Canucks de Vancouver marque le but vainqueur contre le gardien des Jets de Winnipeg Eric Comrie lors de la fusillade, vendredi.  (TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)</p>
<p>Vancouver Canucks Elias Pettersson scores the game-winning goal against Winnipeg Jets goalie Eric Comrie in the shootout on Friday.  (TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)</p>
<p>Comrie finished the game with 33 saves in regulation and overtime, while Demko made 34 saves.			</p>
<p>The Jets are now out until Tuesday, when they open a three-game home game against the Buffalo Sabers at the Canada Life Center.  Washington and St. Louis will also be making tours.			</p>
<p>			</p>
<p>Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg			</p>
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