They’d denied following their morning skate earlier it was a must-win.

But nobody was denying it Wednesday night.

With their backs to the wall, the Winnipeg Jets kept their slim playoff hopes on life-support at the MTS Centre Wednesday night as winger Blake Wheeler got his first goal in 10 games at the most opportune of times — at 1:42 of overtime, giving his team a gritty and critical 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

"This was huge. This was a must-win," said Jets goaltender Al Montoya, who won the second of his last three starts in relief of injured Ondrej Pavelec.

"They all are, but tonight — day-by-day — this was one we needed to have and we did have. I can’t say enough about the guys who came to play tonight."

Topping that list was Wheeler, who had two assists during regulation time, when Jets defenceman Paul Postma fed him a pass in the Avs zone and Wheeler did the rest — weaving his way through traffic seemingly forever before finally firing from a sharp angle into a wide-open Avs net.

"It felt like an eternity," said Wheeler. "I was looking for a shot and it just wasn’t open. I couldn’t figure out where the opening was going to be. And finally, the goalie was out of the net in the corner and I was able to find the hole...

"This has been a tough year. It’s been one thing after another," Wheeler continued.

"And that’s one thing I’d say about our group — we’re definitely seasoned at this point and there’s nothing that we can’t deal with. And we’re starting to rally around that in our room."