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Jets 5, Avalanche 4 (OT)

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Winnipeg Jets kept their flickering playoff hopes alive Wednesday night with a 5-4 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche.

Right winger Blake Wheeler scored the winner to send the sellout crowd of 15,003 home with visions of the playoffs still dancing in their heads.

Wheeler scored his 24th goal of the season, assisted by defensemen Paul Postma and Toby Enstrom, at 1:42 of overtime.

The win boosted the Jets' record to 32-30-9, good for 73 points.

The Avalanche may have had their last visit to Winnipeg in mind during the game's first shift -- they fell behind 2-0 less than six minutes in back in December -- when they opened the scoring just 20 seconds in. Center Ryan O'Reilly's shot banked off of Jets center Bryan Little and behind goaltender Al Montoya. Center Matt Duchene and left winger Jamie McGinn got the assists.

The Jets shook it off and evened the score at 1 less than three minutes later when left winger and captain Andrew Ladd snapped a shot off the post and behind Avalanche goalie Reto Berra. Ladd's 20th goal of the season was assisted Little and rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba.

One of the most unlikely candidates -- fourth line grinder, Eric Tangradi -- gave the Jets a 2-1 lead at 12:08 of the opening period. The left winger converted after a cycling shift from Wheeler and center Olli Jokinen.

The Avalanche tied it up before the end of the period when left winger Gabriel Landeskog beat Montoya with his 21st of the year at 17:47 of the period. Defenseman Andre Benoit and center Nathan MacKinnon, the current rookie scoring leader, had the assists.

Jets left winger Evander Kane potted his 17th of the season at 12:02, putting the home side ahead 3-2, thanks to the work of right winger Devin Setoguchi and defenseman Paul Postma.

The lead did not last the period, however, as defenseman Nick Holden beat Montoya with a wrist shot to the blocker side with 30 seconds to go. It was his eighth of the season, assisted by Tyson Barrie and center Maxime Talbot.

The see-saw battle continued in the final period with the Jets once again taking the lead at 4:58 when Ladd scored his second of the game and 21st of the season on the power play.

Less than six minutes later, however, Avalanche left winger Cody McLeod evened the contest with his third of the season.

Talbot received his second assist of the game on the play, along with defenseman Nate Guenin.

NOTES: The Jets are without RW Dustin Byfuglien, who was injured late in the team's 3-1 loss to St. Louis on Monday night. ... If a team's penalty kill translated directly into wins, the Jets would be sitting in the catbird seat. A streak of 18 straight successful penalty kills ended in St. Louis on Tuesday. On the road, the Jets had been successful 40 consecutive times with the man disadvantage. ... Each of the four games between these two teams prior to Wednesday had been decided by one goal. The Avalanche are 3-0-1. The Jets are fourth in the league with 38 one-goal games. ... The Avalanche did not take a pre-game skate Wednesday after arriving in town following a 6-3 loss in Montreal on Tuesday. ... It marked Patrick Roy's first game in Montreal as the Avalanche coach. He played 10 years for the Canadiens, winning two Stanley Cups, before being traded to the Avalanche in 1995. ... The Avalanche are 4-3-0 in the second game of back-to-back contests this season. ... Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic was spotted chatting with Jets owner Mark Chipman in the press box. ... Avalanche LW Cody McLeod was born in Binscarth, Manitoba (pop. 425), located 3 1/2 hours northwest of Winnipeg. ... Avalanche C Nathan MacKinnon's 13-game point streak was stopped March 6, an NHL record for 18-year-olds. The previous record holder was a kid named Wayne Gretzky in the 1979-80 season.

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