EditorsNote: update 2: adds new first word in fifth and sixth grafs
Winnipeg native Cody Eakin scored the go-ahead goal in the third period — his first goal for his hometown club — to lead the host Jets to a 4-2 comeback win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.
The Jets’ season-high sixth straight home victory bumped Winnipeg (36-28-6, 78 points) into the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference while the Coyotes (33-29-8, 74 points) failed to gain ground.
Nikolaj Ehlers notched a goal and two assists, Tucker Poolman had a goal and an assist, and Mark Scheifele scored for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck started in goal for the fifth straight game (4-1-0) and stopped 36 of 38 shots to go to 30-21-5.
Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice coached his 1,599th game, breaking a tie with Ken Hitchcock for the fifth-most NHL games behind the bench.
Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz scored two first-period goals, Phil Kessel contributed two assists, and Darcy Kuemper made 30 saves but lost for the first time in six decisions against Winnipeg.
Coyotes leading goal-scorer Conor Garland (22 goals) missed the game and was listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry set the tone on his first shift with a big hit on Vinnie Hinostroza at 2:07 of the first period, and the Coyotes’ Lawson Crouse went after the Jets forward. But Lowry, playing for the first time in 21 games, ended the tussle quickly by dropping Crouse with a punch.
Schmaltz freewheeled his way into the low slot and lifted in a wrister for his 10th at 15:50 — just his second goal in the past 17 games.
The speedy Ehlers — shaken up on a hard hit in the first that rocked two other players — grabbed a stretch pass from Poolman and swooped in past diving defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to make it 2-1 at 2:13.
Poolman cleaned up a loose puck with a backhander at 17:27 — his fourth goal — after Kuemper made the initial save on Eakin’s wrist shot, and the teams headed to the third period knotted at 2.
Traded by Vegas to Winnipeg on Feb. 21, Eakin posted a two-point game when he moved through the crease and backhanded his fifth over Kuemper at 11:33 of the third for the Jets’ first lead. Scheifele scored into an empty net at 19:24 for the final margin.
—Field Level Media