WINNIPEG — Patrik Laine had two goals and two assists for the Winnipeg Jets in their home opener, a 5-2 win against the Minnesota Wild at Bell MTS Place on Thursday.
Laine has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) during a five-game point streak to start the season and is tied with Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers for the NHL scoring lead.
“I wouldn’t be there without my teammates and my linemates,” Laine said. “I think they’ve done a really good job of giving me some great looks and opportunities. I think my goal for the season was to try to work as hard as I can, every night, every day. I think I’ve been able to do that for the last five games. It’s still not quite there. I’m still working as hard as I can, but I don’t think I’m playing the way I can.”
[WATCH: All Wild vs. Jets highlights]
Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist, Mark Scheifele had two assists, and Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves for the Jets (3-2-0).
“There were parts of our game I really liked, and clearly we’ve got some work to do,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “The bench is really good. They’re working hard. They’re trying. They’re not cheating the game, so I’m pleased with the outcome. We had some really strong performances. Our goaltender was really good.”
Ryan Hartman and Brad Hunt scored for the Wild (0-3-0). It is the first time in Minnesota history that it has lost its first three games of a season in regulation.
“It’s been a pretty great franchise, a lot of good teams,” said Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, who made 27 saves. “Not a lot of teams do (lose the first three games), so it’s certainly not where we want to be, but I think we’re pretty close as a group in here, and we’re going to find a way out of this.”
Hunt said, “We’re a great hockey team and I think we just need to believe in ourselves. And it’s still early in the season, and we’re getting better and better each game. We’re getting lots of chances, and we’ve just got to start putting them in the net and things will turn around.”
Hartman scored his first goal for the Wild to give them a 1-0 lead at 13:08 of the first period.
Wheeler tied the game 1-1 1:37 into the second period. The goal was his 700th NHL point.
“I feel real lucky,” Wheeler said. “You hit certain milestones or whatever it might be, and you don’t really reflect on it at this point . … There’s been some outstanding opportunities, especially here. I play with great players. And when you’re given those type of roles, you’re going to have opportunities to put up some numbers.”
Laine scored on a one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Scheifele at 9:10 of the second to make it 2-1.
“I had no idea he was going to pass that. I think he was probably the only one who knew he was going to pass to me,” Laine said. “He didn’t look at me once. I was pretty sure he was just going to dump it in, and we were going to change. He’s that kind of player who can make those passes.”
Hunt tied it 2-2 at 3:09 of the third, but the Jets scored twice in 28 seconds later in the period. Kyle Connor made it 3-2 at 8:47 before Jack Roslovic scored to make it 4-2 at 9:15.
“If we want to win, we’re definitely going to have to tighten up a little bit on certain things,” Dubnyk said. “But I think those are small fixes.”
Laine scored into an empty net with 2:19 remaining for the 5-2 final.
They said it
“They’ve been three road games against three tough teams, and granted, we could have won one or two of them. Now we get to go home. No excuses. Now we’ve got our (first) home game.” — Wild coach Bruce Boudreau
“Blake (Wheeler) is very unique in terms of players I’ve coached. I probably have four players in the Hall of Fame that I coached. But he is unique in that his point production as almost a grinding power forward. Usually those guys score goals within 10 feet of the net. … He’s so unusual in his ability to make plays and still play like a grinder.” — Jets coach Paul Maurice
Need to know
Scheifele has eight points (one goal, seven assists), tied for third in the NHL. … After allowing five goals on 31 shots in the season opener, a 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers, Hellebuyck allowed three goals on 78 shots in his next two games. … Laine had a game-high eight hits. … The Wild won all five games against the Jets last season. … Forward Mats Zuccarello has been held without a point in his first three games with Minnesota.
Wild: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-N, FS-WI, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)
Jets: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)