Player of the Week | Blake Wheeler
Blake Wheeler helped lead the Winnipeg Jets to a seven-point week while he tallied 10 points of his own (2-8–10) to take over the league lead in assists with his 28th of the season.
NOV. 27 – DEC. 3, 2017
THREE MULTI-POINT OUTINGS
2-8–10 OVER 4 GP
28 ASSISTS LEADS LEAGUE
Blake Wheeler helped lead the Winnipeg Jets to the top of the Western Conference with a seven-point week, while tallying 10 points of his own (2-8–10) to take over the league lead in assists with his 28th of the season.
Wheeler's standout week began with a Monday matchup against the visiting Minnesota Wild in his 500th game with the Jets franchise. The outlook was looking grim at the onset for the home side with the team trailing 2-0 in the opening frame, but the Jets quickly put away two goals in under two minutes with Wheeler dishing out the primary assist on Mark Scheifele's equalizing power-play goal.
Building off a strong first period, the Jets successfully flipped the script by scoring seven unanswered goals in what ended in a 7-2 win. Wheeler tallied another helper on the power-play and also put away the game's final goal. The captain skated away as the game's second star while logging 20:08 of ice time – a game-high among forwards.
"The Hendricks line with Armia and Perreault," spoke Wheeler of the game's shift of momentum. "They've been playing great for us. They've been playing with a ton of energy and they made a great play to get us going, got a bit of the momentum on our side, and we closed that period [the first] out strong."
It was a happy ending for Jets fans who got to witness the heart-warming beginning to what was Hockey Fights Cancer night at Bell MTS Place. With team captain Wheeler at centre ice for the ceremonial puck drop, the Jets began the evening by introducing of four children battling cancer and presented a donation to the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.
Winnipeg then hit the road to Colorado Wednesday, where the team was edged out of a tight 3-2 loss that went to overtime.Wheeler played 21:38 in the losing effort and registered three shots on goal. The Jets’ loss wasn't for lack of trying, according to Jets coach Paul Maurice.
"We just couldn't get a good handle on a lot of things tonight. Forward-moving pucks, it was a tough game. Tough game for them to grind through. We had some guys just a bit off, but they worked at it. They competed hard, it was a hard, grinding game, it just wasn't a sharp game," Maurice told reporters post-game.
Friday marked a return to the comforts of home ice for the Jets, who hit lucky number seven in goals for the second time in the week with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Vegas Golden Knights. The win was the fifth in a row at Bell MTS Place as the Jets found themselves atop the Western Conference with 36 points. Wheeler dished out a trio of assists while hauling in 21:26 of ice time for second most among the game's forwards.
The 31-year-old saved his most outstanding performance for the fourth and final game of the Jets' week. In a 5-0 blanking of the visiting Ottawa Senators Sunday night, Wheeler posted his third multi-point performance of the week (each with three points or more) by notching a goal and another trio of assists to skate away as the game's first star.
Of Wheeler's 10 points over the week, five of them were the result of his power-play efforts spanned over 16:07 of ice time on the man-advantage.
Wheeler's 35 points (7-28) this season rank him fourth overall in NHL scoring.
The Jets (17-6-4, 38 points) currently remain atop the Western Conference, tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place overall in the NHL standings.
Next up for the Jets is a Tuesday night matchup against the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena, but before hitting the road, Wheeler had time to fit in a victory beverage with one of his biggest fans.
Complete listing of the 2017-18 NHLPA.com Players of the Week here.