April 16th, 2024

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Jets roll over Blue Jackets 6-1

By Nicole Kraft, The Associated Press on March 17, 2024.

Columbus Blue Jackets' Dmitri Voronkov, right, carries the puck past Winnepeg Jets' Mason Appleton (10) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Tyler Toffoli scored twice and added an assist, leading the Winnipeg Jets past the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1 on Sunday night.

Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and an assist, and Kyle Connor, Logan Stanley and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored. Sean Monahan added two assists and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30 shots for the Jets, who pulled even with the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche atop the Central Division.

Brendan Gaunce scored and Elvis Merzlikins stopped 21 shots for Columbus, which has lost four of its last five, including three out of four at home. The Blue Jackets remain last in the Metropolitan Division.

Connor got Winnipeg on the board on the game’s first shot, a wide-open wrister from the slot with 1:26 elapsed. Mark Scheifele’s primary assist gave him 40 on the season for the sixth time in his career.

The Jets then used a four-goal second period to break open the game, scoring early and often.

“We were loose in the first,” Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness said. “We weren’t fooled by the score. We knew we had to tighten it up. We gave them too many chances off the rush, so we addressed that, and we did.”

Ehlers made it 2-0 at 1:10 before Toffoli followed up at 9:45 with his third goal in two games since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils.

An unassisted goal from Stanley at 12:00 and Namestnikov’s score at 18:24 gave Winnipeg a 5-0 lead after 40 minutes.

“The few things that we need to do well in order to be successful, is we need to compete and skate,” Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. “The second period, we just didn’t push the pace like we usually do. And when you face a team like the Jets, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

In the third period it was the Blue Jackets who scored early, with Gaunce making it 5-1 39 seconds after the puck dropped in his fourth game since being called up from AHL Cleveland. Winnipeg thought it padded the lead at 4:34, but Morgan Barron’s goal was waived off for a high stick.

Toffoli completed the scoring with his second goal at 17:34 of the third and 30th on the year.

He said the team wasn’t happy with the way they played in the first period. He felt good about how they responded.

“Hopefully we build off it moving forward,” Toffoli said.

This was Winnipeg’s second win in a row and kicks off a five-game road trip.

UP NEXT

Jets: Visit New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

Blue Jackets: Visit Detroit on Tuesday night.

___

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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