When a Stanley Cup is on the line, NHL players will put everything on the line to come away with Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler certainly took that to heart Monday.
In the final game of the Jets’ series against the Edmonton Oilers, Wheeler blocked a shot in a, well, sensitive area in the third period. The Jets went on to win the game 4-3 in triple overtime to sweep the Oilers in four games.
“I’m sure everyone on this call has had experiences like that or something similar, not necessarily a slapshot,” Wheeler said in his postgame news conference. “I mean, everyone on our team did that all series long, all game long. The first shift of the game we put an emphasis on getting in front of shots from the point, and Matty Perreault blocked two shots. So that then and there set the standard that every single guy was going to put their body in front of the puck. And third period in a tight game, you’ll put anything in front of it.
“I’ve got three beautiful kids and we’re not having any more, so what the hell.”
After Wheeler’s shot to the groin, he had to skate off the ice into the locker room, but he was back out on the ice for overtime for Winnipeg.
Wheeler was vital to the Jets’ success against the Oilers, as he was tied with Mark Scheifele for the most points in the series at five with two goals and three assists in the series. He finished the regular season with 46 points on 15 goals and 31 assists.
“I’m glad he’s got his kid. There’s the funny part of hockey because when I found out where it hit him, I was relieved because I thought it was his wrist,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said after the game. “You get a good laugh between periods about him surviving it, but that was a really critical part of the game tonight. [The Oilers] had good zone control and good possession control and got the puck low to high an awful lot, but the difference in us winning the two games is we’re getting those blocks.”
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