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Jets fall to Columbus 5-2, win streak snapped at three

Kyle Connor, Joel Armia score for Jets; Mason makes 33 saves

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton /

WINNIPEG - Captain Blake Wheeler said "there's going to be nights like this."

The goal, added the captain, is to make sure the team bounces back quickly.

The Winnipeg Jets (3-3-0) dropped a 5-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night, snapping the home team's three-game winning streak, and extending Columbus' to four.

"The game is really simple, but it's really hard. If you're not going to play it simply, then it's really hard," said head coach Paul Maurice. "If you don't do either, you're going to have a night that looked just like that.

"We didn't skate hard enough to give ourselves a chance to even battle on some pucks."

Video: CJB@WPG: Connor one-times Scheifele's pass for goal

After a scoreless first period that saw Columbus outshoot the Jets 11-8, the Blue Jackets didn't waste much time getting on the board in the second.

When Nikolaj Ehlers tried to gain the offensive zone 30 seconds after puck drop, Artemi Panarin poked the puck free, and Cam Atkinson came in all alone on Mason. After a couple fakes, he slid a backhand past the outstretched left leg of the Jets netminder.

The Blue Jackets (5-1-0) would extend the lead 10:50 into the second. Off a turnover just outside the Jets blue line, Columbus captain Nick Foligno came back the other way and slid a toe drag around Josh Morrissey, then made a move to his backhand to get around Mason, tucking the puck just inside the left post for his first of the season.

Foligno's goal came minutes after Mason made a miraculous stop on Foligno, shooting out his left leg to deny Foligno of his first goal of the campaign, if only for a few minutes.

"I feel for the guy because I think he kept it right for as long as he could," Maurice said of Mason, who made 33 saves. "We didn't have enough going for us in this game. Just too slow to give him a chance to win us a game."

Seeking a spark, Maurice moved Kyle Connor to the wing with Scheifele and Wheeler, and the trio wasted no time getting on the board. Off the cycle, Wheeler played the puck down low for Scheifele, who threaded a nifty backhand pass into an open area to the left of Korpisalo. Connor was waiting there to quickly put it on net, and buried his first of the season to get the Jets within one.

"I thought it started off that we were around the puck and moving our feet down low, and being quick off each other," said Connor, who finished with 17:36 of ice time in his regular season debut. "(Scheifele) made a great pass to me and I tried to get it on net, and it went in.

Video: CBJ@WPG: Mason stones Foligno on the doorstep

"I have to take advantage of the opportunities that I get. Every time you get on the ice you have to prove what you can do and play your best."

Columbus restored the two goal lead 36 seconds later, when Brandon Dubinsky outwaited a charging Ehlers in the defensive zone, and fed Jack Johnson at the top of the circle to the right of Mason. The Jets goaltender tried to dive to make the stop, but Johnson's goal made it 3-1.

Lukas Sedlak made it 4-1 when he followed up a forecheck from Pierre-Luc Dubois in the corner, and his backhand pass attempt aimed at the front of the net caught Mason's stick and trickled through the five hole.

"They're just incredibly quick. If you're not on the puck, like we normally are, it's going to look like 5-2," said Wheeler. "You have to be on your toes against these guys to give yourself an opportunity to be in the hockey game. We survived the first period, just made a couple bad plays in the second period, (they went) in our net, and we couldn't recover."

Video: CBJ@WPG: Armia shows off sweet hands for slick goal

Columbus would add a fifth in the third period. When Seth Jones came over the Jets blue line and fed Zach Werenski, pinching up on the left wing. Werenski's shot beat Mason over the shoulder with 7:45 to go.

Joel Armia would net his first of the season shorthanded with 1:37 left in regulation. Chipping it past a Columbus defenceman at the Jets blue line, Armia then toe-dragged Johnson, got in tight on Korpisalo and went upstairs.

"We know we're better than that," said Wheeler. "The Carolina game, we survived that one and we gutted our way through it. We didn't really get skating again after that game. We just have to get our feet moving."

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