Jets hold to defeat Blue Jackets

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maligned and booed back home, the Winnipeg Jets needed to hit the road to find solace.
Center Mark Scheifele, center Brian Little and left winger Evander Kane scored goals, and the Jets survived a hectic finish Monday to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 before 11,448 in Nationwide Arena.
Backup goaltender Al Montoya had 22 saves, but looked shaky in the third period when Columbus closed to 2-1 and 3-2 before running out of time.
Winnipeg, which led 1-0 after two sleepy periods, snapped a three-game skid (0-2-1), all the defeats suffered at home.
"After going 0-for-3 at home and being up 3-1 on these guys, we had to put them away," said Kane, who also had an assist. "It was a solid win. It's nothing to jump up and down about. We can be better. But we battled."
The Blue Jackets got goals from right winger R.J. Umberger and defenseman Fedor Tyutin.
Goaltender Mike McKenna, making his second consecutive start after injuries felled starter Sergei Bobrovsky and backup Curtis McElhinney, finished with 29 saves.
The Jackets thought they had a 1-0 lead late in the first period, but the goal was disallowed after Jackets left winger Matt Calvert was called for goaltender interference.
"Those are judgment calls by the officials, so you have to live with them and move on," Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky said. "It's tough that it was the difference tonight maybe, but we have to be better."
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was less diplomatic.
"I didn't see goaltender interference on the play, but that was the call," Richards said.
Other than two first-period fights, the game was mostly quiet for the first 30 minutes. The final 30 were more eventful.
The Jets (15-15-5) broke a scoreless tie at 13:59 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 winger 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.
But that was it for Columbus. The Jackets pulled McKenna with 1:17 to play, but didn't generate any genuine scoring chances.
"I thought the game was going to play out as a very tight game, but then it started to open up for both teams," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said. "We played a pretty steady game, really. We don't like to give up those goals late in the game, but we managed to hold on there."
NOTES: Winnipeg LW Evander Kane played his first game after missing six with a lower-body injury. ... Blue Jackets D Dalton Prout left the game with an upper-body injury suffered on his first shift. Columbus C Derek MacKenzie left in the second period with a lower-body injury. ... The Blue Jackets had a goal disallowed with 45.9 seconds remaining in the first period when referee Tim Peel ruled that LW Matt Calvert impeded Jets G Al Montoya's ability to play the puck. ... Blue Jackets LW Jack Skille was reassigned to AHL Springfield. ... This was only the second time Winnipeg has played in Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets have never played a regular-season game in Winnipeg.