The Jets spoiled Avs goalie Calvin Pickard's return to his hometown as Winnipeg beat Colorado 4-1

Posted at 11:50 PM, Dec 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-19 01:50:25-05

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Nikolaj Ehlers isn't particularly interested in personal accolades.

Ehlers scored twice to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

"All I care about is how the team is doing, and the personal comes second," the second-year forward said. "But it's not that I've been feeling like I haven't played well. I feel really good and am playing with a lot of confidence, and just playing the game and it has worked out."

Patrik Laine had a goal and two assists and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Jets. Mark Scheifele had two assists and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 27 shots to improve to 12-10-1 this season.

Ehlers has three goals in the last four games after snapping a 15-game drought.

"He's a guy when it rains it pours. He creates a lot of opportunities," Wheeler said of his linemate. "It was nice to see him get a good look at the goalie and put it where he wanted to."

Jarome Iginla had a power-play goal for Colorado, and Calvin Pickard had 26 saves while making his first career NHL start in his hometown.

"That lapse in the third period, I don't know how quickly they scored the two goals, but it was quick and that was the difference in the hockey game," Pickard said. "When we're hard pressed to score goals I have to come up with another big save.

"It's a lot of fun always coming back to Winnipeg and seeing friends and family, and playing in front of them."

Laine opened the scoring at 7:06 of the second, taking a pass from Scheifele for a one-timer on a 2-on-1 rush for the 18-year-old rookie's 18th. Laine is in third in the NHL in goals, trailing only Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby (21) and Boston's David Pastrnak (19).

"(Scheifele) is a really good passer. He got the pass to me and it was easy to score," Laine said. "I knew he was going to pass so I had to be ready."

Wheeler's ninth of the season came on a 2-on-1 rush as Mathieu Perreault set him up at 2:54 of the third. Ehlers made it 3-0 at 4:03.

After Iginla pulled the Avalanche within two with 2:01 remaining, Ehlers had an empty-netter in 30 seconds to go.

Game notes
The Jets' penalty kill, which has struggled this season -- 28th in the league at 75.6 percent entering Sunday -- killed off two of three Colorado power plays. The Jets have now allowed nine power-play goals in their last five games, including a 3-for-3 effort by Florida on Thursday night. ... Winnipeg, fourth in the Central Division, improved to 10-1-0 when leading after two periods and increased its lead over last-place Colorado to 10 points.


Avalanche: At Minnesota on Tuesday night.