WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Jets rookie Michael Hutchinson made 29 saves, and Winnipeg stretched its winning streak to a season-high five games with a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.
It was Hutchinson’s second shutout of the season and the Jets’ third as Winnipeg outshot Columbus 30-29 in the teams’ last game before the NHL All-Star break.
Winnipeg scored on its first two shots, with Blake Wheeler netting his 13th at 1:08, and Evander Kane adding his 10th at 6:06.
Jim Slater and Chris Thorburn scored second-period goals for the Jets (26-14-8).
Winnipeg’s previous home shutout was a 3-0 win over Buffalo on Dec. 31, 2013. Columbus (20-22-3) has been shut out three times this season.
Columbus is hosting this weekend’s All-Star festivities, but Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky might not be celebrating.
Bobrovsky, slated to play in his first All-Star game, was replaced by Curtis McElhinney near the midway point of the second period. He was helped off the ice after he stretched to stop a wide shot by Michael Frolik.
Bobrovsky had stopped nine of 12 shots before he left, and McElhinney made 17 saves in relief. Columbus had won its previous two games during the three-day trip.
The Jets are 6-0-1 in their past seven games.
Wheeler opened the scoring when he took a pass from Andrew Ladd and got off a backhanded shot as he was spinning and falling in the slot for his 13th goal.
Kane took a drop pass by Mark Scheifele just outside the top of the right circle and fired a low shot at Bobrovsky, who looked back in the net after the puck went through his pads at 6:06.
The Blue Jackets had a number of opportunities during the opening period, including a pair of power plays, but couldn’t score despite a 14-6 shots edge.
Columbus had the game’s third power play early in the second, but a minute after it expired, Jay Harrison’s point shot went through traffic and was tipped by Slater past Bobrovsky to make it 3-0.
Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, making his return after missing 16 games, had been in the penalty box for tripping before assisting on the goal at 4:45.
Bobrovsky was helped off the ice with 12:16 left in the period. Forward Jeremy Morin had already left with an upper-body injury and didn’t return.
The Blue Jackets were then hit with an unusual bit of bad luck.
The blade of Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin’s left skate fell off near his team’s net with 8:18 remaining in the period. Tyutin could barely balance and tried to position his body to block shots. He was then supported by a teammate as he made his way to the dressing room, but later returned.
Winnipeg soon made it 4-0 when Thorburn scored on a rebound with 5:50 remaining. The Jets outshot the Blue Jackets 17-7 in the second period.
Hutchinson had fans chanting his name in the third after he robbed a close shot by Brandon Dubinsky with about eight minutes left.
NOTES: Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is the only Jets player participating in All-Star weekend. Bobrovsky and forwards Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen are making their All-Star debuts for Columbus. It is the first time the Blue Jackets have had more than one All-Star. … Jets RW Anthony Peluso playing in his 100th NHL game.
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