It was exactly the kind of game that Winnipeg needed. After playing some up-and-down hockey following the losses of defencemen Josh Morrissey, Dustin Byfuglien and Joe Morrow. With Sami Niku and Nate Beaulieu continuing to play solid fill-in defence, the boys in blue relied on their offence to get past a red-hot Hurricanes team Friday.
Winnipeg wasted little time getting on the scoresheet, as newcomer Kevin Hayes scored his second goal as a Jet – and first with a goalie in the net – taking a nice setup from linemate Nik Ehlers, before potting his 16th of the season past netminder Curtis McElhinney less than three minutes into the game.
Blake Wheeler then scored his 19th goal of the season, before Ben Chiarot and Ehlers picked up their fifth and 17th markers, respectively. With three goals in 6:18, the Jets put the Canes out of it early, but continued firing the puck on net. The only goal of the second period came with just 30 seconds remaining as Andrew Copp directed a Jack Roslovic offering past the worn out McElhinney, giving the visitors a 5-0 lead through 40 minutes of play.
Carolina was finally able to solve Winnipeg’s Laurent Brossoit at the midway point of the third period, as Greg McKegg provided a beauty of a tip past the Jets’ backup goaltender, just as forward Adam Lowry returned to the ice following a high-sticking minor.
After failing to score on a backwards spin out from the corner just seconds earlier, Kyle Connor made good on his second opportunity, picking up his 26th of the season while on the power play. Wheeler collected his 64th assist of the season on the play, moving into second place in the league.
Winnipeg added two more goals in the final minute of play, just for good measure. Copp got his second of the game on a nice touch pass by Roslovic, before Lowry redirected a powerful Ben Chiarot point shot pas the bewildered Carolina netminder on the Jets’ 29th shot of the game.
Chiarot, Connor, Roslovic, Ehlers, Wheeler, Hayes and Copp each put up multi-point efforts, while only three Winnipeg players did not record points on the night. Laurent Brossoit stopped 28 of 29 shots, while Curtis McElhinney turned aside 21 of the Jets’ 29 shots.
Winnipeg will now travel to Washington for a Sunday evening matchup with the Capitals, before retuning home to face the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. Sunday’s contest will see a 6:00 PM central puck drop, while the game can be viewed live on Sportsnet.