EditorsNote: Fixes Kulikov’s spelling in 8th graf
Blake Wheeler scored a career-high four goals, three in the third period, and the Winnipeg Jets opened their four-game road trip with a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Wheeler, who has five goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak, tipped home a shot from Nathan Beaulieu to snap a 2-2 tie with 12:16 left in regulation. Wheeler then converted a nifty pass from Patrik Laine at the 17:47 mark of the third and completed his brilliant night with an empty-netter in the final minute.
Mark Scheifele had three assists and Connor Hellebuyck made 40 saves for the Central Division-leading Jets, who won their second straight to begin a road stretch against Eastern Conference playoff contenders.
The Blue Jackets, fighting just to make the postseason, lost their second straight to conclude a 2-3-0 homestand despite outshooting Winnipeg 42-26.
The Jets opened the scoring when defenseman Sami Niku’s blast from just inside the blue line beat a screened Sergei Bobrovsky 2:21 into the game.
Columbus, though, equalized on the power play 11:22 into the first, when Nick Foligno banged home a rebound off Artemi Panarin’s shot on a Hellebuyck save.
Winnipeg regained the lead 35 seconds into the second when Wheeler converted a deflection of Dmitry Kulikov’s shot from the point.
Tempers flared 7:33 into the period as Kulikov dropped the gloves with Foligno, who delivered a knee-on-knee hit to Scheifele. Kulikov earned a 10-minute misconduct and an extra two minutes for instigating, but the Jets killed the penalty.
However, the Blue Jackets were relentless in Winnipeg’s zone for most of the second and got rewarded as Seth Jones scored from the top of the right circle at 17:31 to tie the game at 2-2.
However, the third period belonged to Wheeler, and Winnipeg recorded a key penalty kill with under 10 minutes to play. Hellebuyck also made some key stops down the stretch.
With two assists, Panarin has five in five games.
The Jets were without winger Adam Lowry, who served the first of a two-game suspension for high-sticking Nashville’s Filip Forsberg on Friday.
—Field Level Media