COLUMBUS, Ohio — Blake Wheeler scored three of his four goals in the third period, Connor Hellebuyck had 40 saves and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Sunday night.
Wheeler’s goal with 2:13 left off Patrik Laine’s feed sealed the game, and he added an empty-netter with 34 seconds left. Sami Niku also tallied for the Jets, who won their second straight and stayed in first place in the Central Division despite being outshot by Columbus 42-26.
Nick Foligno and Seth Jones scored for the Blue Jackets, who lost their second straight and stayed below the wild-card line in the Eastern Division. Sergei Bobrovsky had 21 saves.
Niku got his first goal of the year and the second of his career, a snipe over Bobrovsky’s glove from the point 2:21 into the game. Foligno evened the score for Columbus later in the period on a power play, batting in a rebounded puck from the doorstep.
Wheeler made it 2-1 Jets when he redirected Dimitry Kulikov’s point shot past Bobrovsky 35 seconds into the second period. Jones rifled in a slap shot from the top of the right circle later in the second for the Blue Jackets to tie the game again.
Wheeler, who has 12 points in a six-game points streak, was credited with his second deflection goal of the night 7:44 into the third.
NOTES: Jets F Adam Lowry served the first of a two-game suspension for high-sticking Nashville’s Filip Forsberg on Friday. He was replaced by Par Lindholm, who made his Jets debut after being acquired in a trade with Toronto on Feb. 25. … The Blue Jackets’ lineup saw a shake-up after the 4-0 loss to Edmonton on Saturday with F Alexander Wennberg, F Lukas Sedlak and D Dean Kukan in. Scratched were F Riley Nash, F Eric Robinson and D Adam McQuaid. … Hellebuyck returned after missing a game because of illness. … Kulikov and Columbus’ Nick Foligno squared off and traded bare-fisted punches in the second period. … Columbus plays 11 of its 17 remaining regular-season games on the road. They were 2-3 on the five-game homestand.
Winnipeg: At Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Columbus: At New Jersey on Tuesday.
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Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press