By Carter Brooks
Photos by James Carey Lauder
Following a shootout victory over the Boston Bruins Tuesday, the Winnipeg Jets returned home to Bell MTS Place for their first home matchup following the All-Star Break.
Winnipeg kept its fans interested for the duration of the contest, needing until the 59-minute mark to jump ahead for good in a one-goal 4-3 victory.
Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets made their way to Manitoba for the Thursday night affair, and came out of the first period with an early 2-1 lead. The Blue Jackets fell behind just 4:34 into the contest, as Blake Wheeler found a wide-open Mark Scheifele, who pounded his 26th of the season past Sergei Bobrovsky. However, it didn’t take too long for Columbus to respond.
Four minutes later, Artemi Panarin finished off a pretty passing play in the Jets’ end by beating Connor Hellebuyck cleanly from the slot short side. With Mathieu Perreault in the box for slashing, the Blue Jackets capitalized on the man advantage as Panarin found Josh Anderson, who collected his 16th on a rush up ice.
The ice was certainly tilted in Columbus’ direction through 20 minutes. The two power plays may have helped the shot totals, as the boys from Ohio ended the frame up 11-8.
After a rather sluggish first half of the second period, Mason Appleton knotted the game back up for Winnipeg on the Jets’ seventh shot of the frame, potting a weak backhander past Bobrovsky, bringing the crowd back into the battle with 6:39 to go. All life was sucked from Bell MTS Place 57 seconds later, however.
Following a great chance up ice on a Jack Roslovic/Patrik Laine/Bryan Little passing play, the puck turned back down ice, and the Blue Jackets jumped on an offensive chance. Oliver Bjorkstrand received a pass just into the Jets’ zone and ripped a wrist shot past Hellebuyck, instantly restoring the visitors’ lead.
Once again Columbus finished the period ahead on the shot tracker. The Jets registered nine shots on goal in the frame, as compared to the Blue Jackets’ 12. Winnipeg trailed by six shots through 40 minutes of play.
It took until the nine-minute mark for the Jets to tie the game up once again. This time, the game-tying goal came with the man advantage. Tyler Myers collected the puck at the point, before dishing it off to winger Jack Roslovic on an excellent cross-ice pass. Roslovic buried his fourth of the season on a perfectly-placed wrist shot.
Winnipeg’s penalty kill came up huge on a Mark Scheifele delay-of-game penalty with just a handful of minutes to go. Brandon Tanev sacrificed his body blocking shots, before helping lead a rush up ice. The Jets used the momentum gained on their late penalty kill to help find another marker.
With just 1:14 to go, Bryan Little found the red-hot Kyle Connor alone in front of Bobrovsky. He made no mistake burying his ninth goal in his last 11 games, the game-winner. Winnipeg then played out the remaining minute on a man advantage, picking up their second come-from-behind third period victory of the week.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 of 31 shots for his 23rd victory of the season, while Sergei Bobrovsky collapsed late, allowing two third period goals on three consecutive shots. He ended the night with 22 saves on 26 Winnipeg shots.
The Jets will now welcome Pacific Division rivals Anaheim and San Jose to Bell MTS Place on Saturday and Tuesday nights, respectively. The Jets and Ducks face off at 6:00 P.M. central on Sportsnet, while Tuesday’s Sharks game will be on TSN3, with the broadcast beginning at 7:00 P.M.