Coming into Winnipeg seeking their fourth consecutive victory, the Columbus Blue Jackets found what they were looking for, dusting the Winning Jets 5-2 at BellMTS Place Tuesday night in front of riled up Winnipeg crowd. The Jets came into the contest winners of three straight of their own.
Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson, Zach Werenski, Lukas Sedlak and Nick Foligno all came through with goals for the Blue Jackets, who are now 5-1-0. Columbus is off to the best start in franchise history since the 2009-2010 season. 11 different players recorded at least one point, while Joonas Korpisalo earned his victory of the season between the pipes with 24 saves.
Manitoba Moose’ Kyle Connor was called Monday up to play in his first NHL game of the season against Columbus. Steve Mason’s woes and worries continue as he played for his third consecutive loss in three starts. His 34 saves didn’t matter too much this evening as the Blue Jackets offense broke down the Jets and did whatever they wanted to do.
Much of the action began in the second period. Just 36 seconds in the frame, Cam Atkinson found himself on a breakaway after besting Nikolai Ehlers with a poke-check and fending off Jacob Trouba to finally undress Mason and earn his third goal of the season.
As the period progressed, so did the collapse of the Jets. Blake Wheeler coughed up the biscuit to Nick Foligno on a bad pass. Foligno capitalized on the interception, beating Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey with the toe drag then sneaking the puck past Mason on the right side of the net to put Columbus up 2-0.
Dropping Ehlers to the second line and moving up Connor to the first after his Jets fell 2-0, head coach Paul Maurice thought blending up the lines could be the means to get his team back into the game.
The move did pay dividends for Winnipeg, when Kyle Connor broke the goose egg to make 2-1 Columbus 12:30 into the second period off of a pass from Mark Scheifele.
Kyle Connor broke the goose egg
But unfortunately tonight the Columbus Blue Jackets had a better plan of attack. Bradon Dubinsky hit Jack Johnson with a beautiful cross-ice pass for a game-winning one-timer at the 13:54 mark to give the Blue Jackets an insurance goal for a 3-1 lead. Lukas Sedlak decided to join the party and add some insult to injury, finding the back of the net to beat Mason yet again for a 4-1 advantage. Columbus had one more goal up their sleeve, this time Zach Werenski scored his third goal of the season just over halfway into the third period.
Joel Armia gave whatever Jets fans that were left in the stands one more goal, with just over a minute and a half to play in the game, to give the Jets their second goal of the night. That would give us the final score of 5-2.