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There are nights it looks like the Winnipeg Jets can almost score at will, rolling four potent lines that eventually overwhelm the competition.
Sunday was one of those nights.
Winnipeg lit the lamp early and often, beating the New Jersey Devils 5-2 score at Bell MTS Place. The Jets improve to 10-5-1, while the Devils drop to 6-8-1.
Jack Roslovic got the offensive party started with his first of the season just 3:02 into the game. Mark Scheifele struck just 29 seconds later, a sure sign that this could be a long night for veteran New Jersey goaltender (and former Manitoba Moose member) Cory Schneider.
After the Devils cut the deficit in half before the end of the period, the Jets really turned things on in the middle frame. Scheifele cashed in again with his team-leading ninth, and then Nikolaj Ehlers and Mathieu Perreault scored to put this one away before it was barely past the halfway mark.
Captain Blake Wheeler had another big night, finishing with two assists to give an NHL-best 20 helpers on the year. That includes 16 assists in the past eight games, six in his past two games and two goals and 17 assists over a 10-game point streak. He finished the game tied for third in overall NHL scoring.
Wheeler’s first assist Sunday also marked a milestone, as it was his 500th point in a Jets uniform.
Scheifele also had an helper Sunday for a three-point night, while Ehlers had two points with an assist as well.
Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 34 saves for the victory.
Winnipeg’s win wasn’t without some controversy. Dustin Byfuglien laid a huge second-period hit on New Jersey’s Brian Boyle, sending the 6’6 forward crashing to the ice. He was given what was announcd as a two-minute check to the head penalty (later changed on the official scoresheet to charging) and the NHL department of safety will surely take a closer look to determine whether any supplemental discipline is required. Boyle remained in the game.
While the Jets seem to be pointed in the right direction, the slumping Devils are heading south. New Jersey has now lost three-in-a-row, giving up 18 goals in the process to Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa. They’ve lost six of their past seven overall.
Winnipeg’s franchise-record of 11 straight games with a power play goal came to an end Sunday as they went 0-for-1 with the man-advantage.
However, the home dominance continues. The Jets are now 16-1-1 in their past 18 regular-season games at Bell MTS Place dating back to last year.
They’ll get a chance to keep things cooking in their own barn when they finish out this four-game homestand with visits from Washington on Wednesday and Buffalo on Friday.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.