DALLAS (AP) — Peanut butter and jelly. Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.
Both great combinations. One sticks to the roof of your mouth, the other sticks it to the Dallas Stars.
Scheifele scored in the opening minute and final seconds, and Wheeler had four assists to help the Winnipeg Jets beat the Stars 4-1 on Monday night.
“I love playing with (Wheeler),” Scheifele said. “He’s my favorite player I’ve ever played with, so we’re happy with the way it’s going right now and we’ve got to continue it.”
Patrik Laine scored on the power play and Kyle Connor also had a goal for the soaring Jets, who are 8-1-3 in their last 12 games. Connor Hellebuyck (8-0-2) made 33 saves for the win.
Scheifele has five goals in two games against Dallas, including a hat trick in Winnipeg last Thursday.
“He is as good as anyone in the league down behind the offensive net, so that’s where we want to play,” Wheeler said. “The two of us are leaders on this team and we just try to bring that every night. The results will come as they may. We’ve contributed to a lot of losses and that’s no fun, but this is all that matters.”
Jets coach Paul Maurice has watched Scheifele and Wheeler blossom over the last five seasons.
“I think we could say probably right from the day those two guys got together there was some real good chemistry. Blake is always driven to get better and Mark’s like that, too,” Maurice said.
Scheifele has a 10-game point streak vs. the Stars, with 12 goals and 11 assists during that span. In 24 career games against Dallas, Wheeler has 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists).
Why all the success against the Stars?
“It’s playing against my buddy Devin Shore. That’s what motivates me,” Scheifele said.
His scoring streak against Dallas began even before Shore joined the team last season, though.
Stars captain Jamie Benn scored on a power play at 4:13 of the second. Despite dominating the period with a 14-7 advantage in shots on goal, Dallas didn’t score again.
“The difference was we didn’t get that second goal in the second period when we had all the scoring chances,” coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Scheifele sent a wrist shot past goalie Ben Bishop just 26 seconds into the game and added a short-handed goal into an empty net with 13 seconds to play.
Winnipeg took a 3-0 lead after one period. Laine scored at 5:12, and Connor added his goal at 19:04.
Wheeler set up Scheifele’s first goal, which went in off the right post from the right faceoff circle.
Two of the NHL’s best power plays succeeded once each.
The Jets have scored seven power-play goals in 15 chances over the last five games. Laine’s shot from the top of the left circle went between Bishop and the right post.
Benn put in Dallas’ eighth power-play goal in 18 opportunities over the last six games. He retrieved a pass that bounced off the boards behind the net and slid the puck under Hellebuyck.
Late in the first period, Winnipeg had a 2-on-1 break after Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis fell. Wheeler passed across to Connor on the left side for a 3-0 lead.
“That’s a tough way to go into the intermission,” Wheeler said. “You’re down two and you give up a third. The momentum’s already kind of on our side. That’s a big lead.”
NOTES: Benn finished with 11 shots on goal. … Stars RW Alexander Radulov extended his scoring streak to six games (four goals, five assists). … Dallas played with only 11 forwards because of injuries to Radek Faksa, Tyler Pitlick and Brett Ritchie. Martin Hanzal played despite a lower-body injury that kept him out of Saturday’s game. “He was a step behind, but we needed the body,” Hitchcock said.
Jets: Play at Vegas on Friday in the second stop of a three-game trip.
Stars: Finish a three-game homestand Friday vs. the New York Islanders.