NHL-leading Jets blank Blue Jackets for seventh straight win
Perfetti recorded the first multi-goal game of his career and Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves to help the Jets deliver a 5-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets that extended their win streak to a franchise-tying seven games and kept the team alone atop the NHL standings.
“It felt really good,” said Perfetti, who also registered an assist and is up to 14 goals and 15 helpers in 40 games. “It’s always fun to score and it felt good to score twice tonight.”
Brenden Dillon, Josh Morrissey and Gabriel Vilardi had the other goals for the Jets (27-9-4), who ran up their franchise-record point streak to 13 games (11-0-2). Adam Lowry contributed a pair of assists.
Hellebuyck recorded his second shutout of the season and 34th of his career. He is 11-0-2 in his past 13 games, the longest unbeaten streak for a goaltender in franchise history.
Winnipeg, which began a four-game homestand, leads the league with 58 points. Its seven-game win streak ties the franchise record set in March/April 2017.
Daniil Tarasov stopped 18 shots for Columbus (13-20-9), which had a modest two-game point streak snapped.
“That’s a team that’s going for the (Stanley) Cup and that’s a team that we’re striving to be like,” Blue Jackets forward Justin Danforth said. “They don’t make many mistakes on the ice.
“They clog the middle of the ice, they backcheck, forecheck our (defence), they finish hits, block shots. That’s probably one of the better teams we’ve played all year.”
Jets leading scorer Mark Scheifele left the game with 13:27 remaining in the third period after a point shot by Morrissey was deflected and hit him on the right side of the head in front of the net. He went off the ice to the dressing room and didn’t return until joining his teammates on the ice for the post-game celebration.
Coach Rick Bowness didn’t have an update but said Scheifele had a few stitches in his ear.
Winnipeg led 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 following the second.
Dillon tied his 2013-14 career high for goals with his sixth of the season at 3:12 of the opening period.
The veteran defenceman went on a three-on-two rush with Nikolaj Ehlers and Scheifele, but when he tried to send the puck across the front of the net to Scheifele it went in off a Columbus stick.
“We have shown more than enough times that we can score the goals, but our commitment to defence over the last stretch of whatever it is, this has been really impressive and it’s been nice that we are getting the results because of it,” Dillon said.
Scheifele’s assist was the 400th of his career and extended his point streak to four games with two goals and three helpers.
Kirill Marchenko had the Blue Jackets’ closest chance, but the puck hit Hellebuyck, the cross bar and then the post.
Winnipeg finished the first period without a shot on goal in the final 10-and-a-half minutes.
Perfetti extended his goal-scoring streak to three consecutive games at 10:50. Dylan Samberg passed the puck from behind the net up to Perfetti at the side, who tapped in his 13th of the season.
Morrissey’s slap shot three minutes later made it 3-0.
“We did (play a good first period), but we had a six-, seven-minute block in the second that we tried to complicate things and they scored two so at that point it’s 3-0 for them,” said Columbus head coach Pascal Vincent.
Perfetti scored his second of the game at 3:34 of the third and Vilardi made it 5-0 on the power play at 9:29.
The Jets continue to lead the league in allowing three or fewer goals in 30 consecutive games. It’s the second-longest run in the modern era (from 1967), behind Minnesota’s 35 straight games from Jan. 27 to April 9, 2015.
Winnipeg has also held opponents to three or fewer goals in a total 35 games this season and have a 26-7-2 record in those matches.
The Jets have even been stingier in many of those games, allowing two goals or fewer in 17 of their past 18 games, including 10 in a row. Winnipeg is also 23-2-1 in a league-leading 26 games of holding opponents to two or fewer goals.
Winnipeg is now 11-0-3 this season in games against teams in the Eastern Conference.
Jets: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
Blue Jackets: Host the Seattle Kraken on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2024.