Wheeler sparks offence as Jets hand Red Wings 12th straight loss

Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp both finished with a goal and an assist to lead the Jets to a 5-1 win over the Red Wings.

WINNIPEG — Laurent Brossoit was glad the Winnipeg Jets didn’t ease up against the reeling Detroit Red Wings.

The Jets scored three goals in a two-minute span during the second period to propel them to a 5-1 victory against Detroit on Tuesday — extending the Red Wings’ losing streak to 12 games.

“That was definitely a team win, especially against a team that’s been struggling this year,” said Brossoit, who made 15 saves in his eighth start in net this season.

“It’s nice to see us come out and give it the same effort that we normally do and not take them easy.”

Jets captain Blake Wheeler began the barrage at 16:43 of the middle frame when he beat Red Wings goalie Eric Comrie, who was making his first start since Detroit acquired him in a trade with Arizona Nov. 30.

Andrew Copp and Patrik Laine followed with goals 11 seconds apart to boost the score to 4-1 by the 18:43 mark.

“When we play with pace and one line gets it going, you start to roll over with some momentum and we kind of feed off that,” Copp said. “You saw that in the second (period), too.

Adam Lowry scored a first-period, short-handed goal and Mark Scheifele notched his team-leading 14th of the season on the power play at 5:04 of the third. Copp and Wheeler also had an assist apiece for the Jets (19-10-2).

Christoffer Ehn scored his first goal of the season for the Red Wings (7-22-3), who are 0-10-2 during their losing skid and remain at the bottom of the NHL standings.

Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck came into the game for one minute and nine seconds during the second period when Brossoit left the ice to deal with an equipment problem. Hellebuyck faced two shots, one of them Ehn’s goal.

The Jets have won four straight at home and are 9-2-1 in their last 12 games.

“(Comrie) made some great saves on tips that I thought were going to bounce in, but he sucked them in,” Red Wings centre Dylan Larkin said. “I thought he was the only positive tonight out of this game.”

Comrie stopped 25 shots in a very familiar arena.

The Edmonton-born netminder was given a video tribute during the first period to recognize his time with the Jets organization. Comrie was drafted by Winnipeg in 2013 and spent parts of six seasons with the franchise, mainly with its American Hockey League affiliate, the Manitoba Moose.

“It was a lot of fun seeing that and how welcome they were and how much the guys were giving me a lot of stick taps and all that stuff. It was awesome,” Comrie said.

Lowry scored at 12:17 of the first after he and Copp went in alone on Comrie while the Jets were killing Kyle Connor’s slashing penalty.

After a rebound and scramble in the crease, Comrie had the puck under his arm and Lowry banged at the puck with his stick until it went into the net. Detroit challenged for goaltender interference, but the official announced the puck hadn’t been completely frozen, so the goal stood.

“I thought I did (cover the puck) but, I mean, I think any goalie would think they would,” Comrie said. “(The officials) think they made the right call, I thought I had it so it is what it is.”

Ehn tied it 1-1 at 7:39 of the second, but Winnipeg responded with the onslaught.

Wheeler got his 200th goal with the Jets franchise, Copp deflected in a Josh Morrissey point shot and Laine made it 4-1 after he stick-handled his way through defenders and beat Comrie.

Scheifele’s goal extended his point streak to four games with five goals and one assist during that span.

Detroit had a two-man advantage for just over a minute midway through the third period, but couldn’t capitalize.

Both teams had some players back after lengthy injuries.

Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader returned after missing 15 games with a hand injury and defenceman Trevor Daley had sat out 16 games with a lower-body injury.

Winnipeg forward Gabriel Bourque was back after missing 14 games with a lower-body injury.

The Jets and Red Wings play a rematch in Detroit on Thursday.


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