WINNIPEG -- Dustin Byfuglien flicked aside a couple of Toronto Maple Leafs defenders with his (rumored) 265-pound frame late in the second period and calmly fed a cross-crease pass to Kyle Wellwood, who scored the winning goal in a 5-2 Winnipeg Jets victory Tuesday night.
The Jets defenseman was a physical force all night, and few Leafs players were willing to engage with him in either the defensive or offensive zones.
It was a physical game from the start, with two fights in the first period -- a between Winnipeg-born Colton Orr and the Jets' Chris Thorburn, and between the two captains, Dion Phaneuf and Andrew Ladd.
The Jets continued their recent trend of scoring the opening goal when Nik Antropov deflected in a Byfuglien point shot on a power play six minutes into the game. Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser was off for interference.
Phil Kessel silenced the 15,003 at the MTS Centre before most of them were back in their seats after the first intermission with a shot that fooled Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec at the 38-second mark.
But the crowd was back in full throat just 25 seconds later when Blake Wheeler slapped home a rebound.
After Wellwood's goal put the Jets ahead 3-1, any doubt that may have remained was put to rest by Evander Kane. He left a couple of Leafs in the snow outside their blue line and ripped a wrist shot past Toronto goalie James Reimer midway through the third period.
The goal chased Reimer, who was replaced by backup Ben Scrivens, marking the first time the Jets has sent a goaltender to the showers early all season.
Wheeler turned it into a rout at the 12:53 mark with a shot between Scrivens' legs.
The Leafs replied at 13:14 with Kessel's second of the night, but by then it was far too little, far too late.
Antropov had a goal and two assists for his first three-point game of the season. He was named the game's first star.
Pavelec made 24 saves. Reimer stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced, and Scrivens saved five of six.
NOTES: After creating an almost mythical reputation for inhospitality at the MTS Centre last year, the Jets came into Tuesday's game with a 4-6-0 home record, dead last in the league. On the flipside, the Jets have completely reversed their former sad-sack fortunes on the road with an 8-5-2 mark. Last season, Winnipeg's road record was largely cited for the team falling out of playoff contention. ... The Leafs, meanwhile, began the night with one of the best road records at 9-5-0. ... After being benched in the Jets' previous game in New Jersey and criticized last week for laughing on the bench, Jets C Alexander Burmistrov was a healthy scratch. Joining him in the press box was D Paul Postma. Not in the lineup for the Leafs were D Mike Komisarek, C David Steckel and D John-Michael Liles. ... The Jets' much-criticized penalty killing unit, last in the league until recently, had not surrendered a goal in the previous eight games, a stretch of 22 short-handed situations. ... Before Tuesday, Kessel led all of his teammates in career goals (12), assists (12) and points (24) in 25 games against the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise. ... Leafs C Nazem Kadri became only the third player in the last 21 seasons to record a hat trick for the franchise before his 21st birthday, accomplishing the feat Feb. 28 against the New York Islanders. The others were Antropov and Alex Steen, now with the St. Louis Blues. ... No member of the reborn Jets has scored a hat trick.