Winnipeg Jets 3 Columbus Blue Jackets 2 – The win puts the Jets back at .500 on the season and a game above .500 on the road at 8-7-1. Jets are now 5-2 in their last seven road games. The win also snapped a three game winless streak for the Jets. The road trip continues Tuesday in Buffalo (TSN Jets, TSN 1290), the fourth back to back situation for the Jets this season. Jets are 0-2-1 in the second game.
It was a tight checking affair in Columbus, with not a lot of scoring chances in the first. Neither Jets goaltender Al Montoya nor Blue Jackets goaltender Mike McKenna was busy with the shots and after one the totals were 7-5 in favour of the Jets.
Jacob Trouba was involved in his first NHL fight as he very much held his own against Matt Calvert. Adam Pardy and Nick Foligno also picked up fighting majors in the opening period.
The game's opening goal came at 13:59 of the second, with Mark Scheifele putting an Evander Kane pass into the top part of the net for his fourth of the year.
Kane was back after missing the last six games due to injury.
It's the second straight road trip where Scheifele scored the first goal, although this is a two game trip, vs the last trip which was a six game trip that started in New Jersey. Scheifele now has eight points in his last 11 games. Michael Frolik also drew an assist, giving him nine points in these last 12 games.
Jets outshot the Blue Jackets 16-11 in the second.
The third period was an offensive explosion as the two teams combined for four goals, three in a span of under three minutes.
Bryan Little with his 14th goal of the season gave the Jets a 2-0 lead. The goal came on a power play, giving the Jets five power play goals in the last four games. Dustin Byfuglien drew an assist giving him points on 12 of the Jets 16 power play goals.
It stayed that way until RJ Umberger got the Blue Jackets on the board with his eighth of year.
One minute and 47 seconds later it was back to a two-goal game as Kane notched his eight of the season, a great shot on an odd man rush.
Just one minute and four seconds after that, it was back to a one-goal game with Fedor Tyutin notching his fourth. The Jets did not give up many more chances as they went on for the 3-2 win, outshooting Columbus 32-24. It was the Jets 21st one-goal game of the year.
Kane and Byfuglien each had six shots on goal, with Byfuglien leading the way in ice time at 27:31. Scheifele played 20:39, his second highest ice time of the season. He was a plus two and is now even on the season, and extended his point streak to three. Frolik also extended his point streak to three, while Little is now at four (2-2-4). Little also has 23 points in his last 23 games.
Coach Claude Noel, who spent three seasons as a member of the Blue Jackets coaching staff, felt his team played a pretty good game.
"The game opened up in the third more than we would have liked but we managed late in the third period pretty well. The power play goal was big."
On the return of Kane, Noel said.
"He looked good. The goal was good and he made a good play on the Scheifele goal. He got banged up a bit but he'll be fine."
As for this being a response game.
"A response game, no, but the misery we felt during the home stand, this game was important."
Wanting more balance on the back end, Coach Noel juggled his pairings, with Byfuglien paired with Grant Clitsome (his first game back in Columbus after being picked up on waivers by the Jets), Trouba with Toby Enstrom and Mark Stuart with Pardy. Jets were minus Anthony Peluso, serving game one of a three game suspension, and Matt Halischuk, out with a broken forearm. Jim Slater and Paul Postma are still long term, while Zach Bogosian is on the trip and skating with the team. No firm date for his return although if this week goes well, home Friday vs. Florida might be a go.