The Sports Xchange, Published December 16 2013
Jets top Columbus on the roadCOLUMBUS, Ohio – Maligned and booed back home, the Winnipeg Jets needed to hit the road to find solace.
The Jets never trailed Monday but survived a wild finish, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 before 11,448 in Nationwide Arena.
Winnipeg snapped a three-game skid (0-2-1), all the defeats suffered at home.
Center Mark Scheifele, center Brian Little and left winger Evander Kane scored for Winnipeg (15-15-5), and goaltender Al Montoya made 22 saves.
The Blue Jackets, who earned points in four of their previous five games (3-1-1), trailed 2-0 before they showed signs of life.
Right winger R.J. Umberger and defenseman Fedor Tyutin scored for the Blue Jackets, who never led. Goaltender Mike McKenna, making his second consecutive start after injuries felled starter Sergei Bobrovsky and backup Curtis McElhinney, finished with 29 saves.
Other than two first-period fights, the game was mostly quiet for the first 30 minutes. The final 30 were more eventful.
The Jets broke a scoreless tie at 13 minutes, 59 seconds of the second.
Kane, who left the game in the first period after getting struck in the left foot with a puck, fed a perfect pass to Scheifele, who found space coming through the slot. Scheifele lifted the puck up and over McKenna’s right pad.
The Blue Jackets (14-16-4) argued briefly that the puck left the zone just seconds before Scheifele’s goal – replays showed it was out by inches – but the goal stood.
The lead grew to 2-0 early in the third period with the Jets on a four-minute power play after Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson was called for a high-sticking double minor.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien rifled a shot from the right point that Little redirected through a crowd and past McKenna.
The Blue Jackets pulled within 2-1 when Umberger scored on a wrap-around with 11:12 to play, but the Jets pushed the lead back to two goals less than two minutes later.
Kane finished a 3-on-2 break with a wrister that snuck under McKenna’s left arm to make it 3-1.
Again the Blue Jackets answered, this time with Tyutin burying a loose puck after a mad scramble in front of Montoya.