WINNIPEG — Head coach Paul Maurice and Jets captain Blake Wheeler had two things in common Friday. Both reached a personal milestone and they both shrugged it off.
Wheeler scored the 200th goal of his NHL career with 6:46 left in the third period to propel Winnipeg to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
“You just want to win games, 200 or not, it’s nice to contribute to a win,” said Wheeler, who added an assist.
Wheeler’s first goal of the season also helped Maurice record his 600th win as an NHL head coach. He’s the 17th coach to reach that milestone.
“I don’t think there’s a significance to it,” Maurice said. “Most of them looked just like that — hold your breath for two-and-a-half hours. I won’t think about it a whole lot. It’s nice.”
Wheeler’s winning goal came after the Wild turned the puck over just outside their blue line.
Rookie forward Kyle Connor fed a pass to Wheeler, who used a deke to beat goalie Devin Dubnyk at 13:14. Wheeler’s score made up for a disallowed Winnipeg goal midway through the period.
Jets centre Mark Scheifele appeared to have poked in the go-ahead goal, but it was overturned on a Minnesota challenge that Wheeler interfered with Dubnyk.
Patrik Laine scored a pair of power-play goals and Nikolaj Ehlers added his sixth goal of the season for Winnipeg (4-3-0). Scheifele and Dustin Byfuglien each picked up a pair of assists.
Mikko Koivu, Marcus Foligno and Chris Stewart, who extended his point streak to five games, supplied the offence for the Wild (1-2-2). Foligno tipped a shot from Mike Reilly, who was originally awarded the goal. Jason Zucker had a pair of assists.
Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for the Jets. It was his fourth victory on the season with no losses.
Dubnyk stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced for the rested Wild, who were playing their first game since their home opener last Saturday.
Minnesota had a 3-2 lead late in the second period, but Laine’s slapshot from the point with 33 seconds left in the middle frame appeared to tick off a Minnesota stick and went high over Dubnyk for the 3-3 tie.
“Regardless of it hitting something or not, that’s not something we want to be giving up on the power play,” Dubnyk said. “He’s got one of the best shots in the league and he’s setting it up on the ladies’ tee.”
Losing the lead is becoming all too familiar to Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.
“I thought we took the play to them until we got the lead,” Boudreau said. “Then it seems like we’re afraid to win because all five games right now, we’ve been tied or ahead with less than 10 minutes to go in the third period.
“And you look at our record and it’s not good enough. When you’re that close in every game, no matter who’s in the lineup and you come away with nothing we’ve got to do some soul searching.”
The victory ended Winnipeg’s three-game homestand (2-1-0). The Jets don’t play again until a pair of road games in Pittsburgh next Thursday and Columbus on Friday.
Minnesota quickly travels to Calgary for a game Saturday.
Notes — Jets forward Brendan Lemieux, son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux, made his NHL debut with his family in the crowd. Lemieux arrived in Winnipeg in the 2015 trade that sent former Jets Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to the Buffalo Sabres.