June 17, 2019

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Winnipeg Jets (47 – 30 – 5)

Jets unzip Blue Jackets

But almost get their fingers caught in the third period

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/12/2015 (1284 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It was a few minutes after the Winnipeg Jets had wrapped up an unusually brief morning skate on Thursday and head coach Paul Maurice was holding court with the media on the meaning of Jets leftwinger Mathieu Perreault.

“I like his energy and his fight — it looks like he has a career-ending injury every night because he gets all twisted around,” Maurice grinned. “He’s got as much contact in his game as guys twice his size.”

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It was a few minutes after the Winnipeg Jets had wrapped up an unusually brief morning skate on Thursday and head coach Paul Maurice was holding court with the media on the meaning of Jets leftwinger Mathieu Perreault.

“I like his energy and his fight — it looks like he has a career-ending injury every night because he gets all twisted around,” Maurice grinned. “He’s got as much contact in his game as guys twice his size.”

Perr-WOAH

And Perreault’s also got more scoring touch than guys with half his grit — a quality that was front and centre at MTS Centre Thursday night as the 27-year-old native of Drummondville, Quebec had a piece of four of his club’s six goals in a 6-4 Jets win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Perreault had assists on Winnipeg’s first, third and fourth goals Thursday night before capping off an evening to remember with a goal of his own at 7:36 of the third period.

Add in goals by linemates Mark Scheifele — just 27 seconds into the game — and Drew Stafford — who had a three-point night of his own — and the Jets second line had a monster night, accounting for a combined nine points.

How good was the Jets second line? Well, this is paragraph six of this little ditty and we’re only now getting to the fact Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien also had a three-point night — a goal and two assists — and now has nine points in his last seven games.

And then there’s this

If the Jets are going to make a playoff push this season after the disaster that was a 4-9-1 record in November, they’re going to have to get hot at home. And they are:Thursday's win was their third straight at the MTS Centre and the Jets have now very quietly built an impressive 8-4-1 record at home this season.

What about Hellebuyck? Rookie Jets netminder Connor Hellebuyck is still undefeated this morning, improving to a perfect 4-0-0 since he was called up from the Manitoba Moose last month as an injury replacement for Ondrej Pavelec.

It bears noting, however, that the four goals Hellebuyck gave up Thursday were one more than he gave up in his three previous games combined. And Jets goaltending coach Wade Flaherty will no doubt be having a chat with the youngster on Friday about what were some very juicy rebounds he gave up to Columbus.

The question now is whether the outing was good enough for Hellebuyck to earn a second start in a row Friday night in Chicago against the Blackhawks. Maurice had left open that possibility Thursday morning — but that was before he watched Hellebuyck give up four goals on 29 shots.

"Send him down," Maurice joked after the game. "He’s got a one goal limit."

About that quick start

Elias Sports Bureau reported that goals by Scheifele and Adam Lowry — his first of the season — in the first 2:22 of the game were the fastest two goals to begin a game since the Jets returned to Winnipeg in 2011.

Add in a third goal in the first period by Byfuglien and a quick 3-0 Jets lead was also a refreshing change for a club that has been sluggish out of the gate all season long. The first period has been the weakest for Winnipeg offensively thus far this season — the Jets had scored just 22 first period goals in 28 games heading into Thursday. Winnipeg had 26 second period goals and 27 goals in the third period heading into Thursday.

About that Columbus comeback

Down 3-0 midway through the first period, the Blue Jackets had Winnipeg’s lead trimmed to 3-2 by the time the two teams headed to the dressing rooms for the second intermission.

And the Blue Jackets just kept coming. A pair of third period goals by the Jets put Winnipeg back up by three at 5-2, but Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson scored twice — the second with less than two minutes to play and the Columbus net empty — to trim Winnipeg’s lead to 5-4.

Jets forward Blake Wheeler sealed the deal for Winnipeg in the final minute with an empty-net goal, but it was still closer than it probably should have been.

"There are no style points in the NHL," said Maurice.

Back to Chicago

The Jets flew out immediately following the game to Chicago, where they will face the Blackhawks Friday night for the second time in six days.

The Blackhawks won’t be feeling any fresher on Friday than the Jets — Chicago played in Nashville Thursday night and got throttled 5-1 by the Predators.

The Jets lost 3-1 to Chicago at the United Centre last Sunday.

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