Dustin Byfuglien scored a goal and added an assist in his 800th NHL game to pace the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 win over the visiting Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.
Goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 21 saves at Bell MTS Place for the Jets, who have ridden a 6-0-2 run to claim first place in the Central Division. Winnipeg is two points ahead of the Nashville Predators, but has three games in hand.
Traditionally, scoring decreases after the All-Star break due to tighter checking. Not in this affair.
Winnipeg’s Jack Roslovic gave a huge indication it was going to be a crazy game when he opened the scoring just 30 seconds into the tilt, giving the rookie goals in successive outings.
Arizona’s Kevin Connauton responded when his long shot trickled by Hellebuyck at 4:25, giving both teams a goal with their first shot on net.
Byfuglien was on the spot for a rebound goal — he batted the puck out of the air — that put the hosts ahead at 7:56 of the first period. Nic Petan then made it 3-1 for the hosts by deflecting a point shot past Coyotes netminder Antti Raanta at 14:28 of the first for his first goal of the season.
Arizona’s Christian Dvorak made it a one-goal game late in the opening frame by sneaking a five-hole shot into the goal to give him two points on the night.
Dmitry Kulikov’s glove-side slapper again gave the Jets a two-goal lead at 2:16 of the second period, but Derek Stepan’s deflection tally 55 seconds into the third period pulled the Coyotes within one. Stepan also had a two-point night.
Raanta stopped 19 shots for the Coyotes, who sit last in the NHL and are on a four-game losing skid.
The Jets are also looking at more good news going forward, as top-line center Mark Scheifele appears poised to return to the lineup this weekend. He has missed 16 games due to a suspected shoulder injury.
—Field Level Media