WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Nikolaj Ehlers has yet to score in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But the Winnipeg Jets seem to be doing fine without the 22-year-old forward from Denmark contributing offensively.
Ehlers was a 29-goal scorer during the regular season. He does have six assists in the postseason and he said he knows he can play better.
“For some reason I’m not skating like I had been,” Ehlers said Sunday prior to the Jets’ optional workout at their practice facility as Winnipeg prepared for Monday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden Knights. “I’m working hard to get back to playing the way I did in the regular season. I’m playing for this team and trying to help this team win.”
Jets center Mark Scheifele said there’s no pressure on Ehlers to score goals.
“It’s not about scoring goals or points in the playoffs, it’s about winning games,” Scheifele said. “He’s doing other thins to help us win and when he starts scoring, it’s only going to make us better.”
Ehlers had three shots on goal in the Jets’ 4-2 win in game 1 Saturday at Bell MTS Place. He said he felt like the pace of the game and the space available to work with was more suited to his style of play than the last series against Nashville.
“It wasn’t exactly played the way I want,” he said of the seven-game series with the Predators. “The guys in here are scoring enough goals and winning games so when the goals come, it’ll feel good.”
Scheifele stays hot
With his goal and assist in Game 1, Scheifele registered his eighth multi-point game of the postseason and third in his last four contests.
It was the 20th time in NHL history and just eighth in the last 30 years that a player has posted multiple points in eight or more of his team’s first 13 games of a postseason. Sidney Crosby (twice) is the only other active player to accomplish the feat.
The Knights’ second line of Erik Haula, James Neal and David Perron were not only kept off the scoresheet in Game 1, the trio failed to record a single shot on goal for the first time in the playoffs.
In addition, they were minus-3 as a line and went a collective 1-6 on faceoffs. One positive for Haula’s line — they generated one-third of the Knights’ 30 hits with Neal and Perron registering four apiece and Haula two hits.
History favors Jets
By winning Game 1, Winnipeg enhanced its chances of advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time ever.
According to the NHL, franchises that win Game 1 in their first-ever Conference Finals/Semifinals appearance (since 1974-75) own an all-time series record of 9-5 (64.3 percent).