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Hutchinson perfect as Jets blank Blue Jackets 4-0 for fifth straight win

NHL.com @NHL

WINNIPEG - Rookie Michael Hutchinson made 29 saves as the Winnipeg Jets stretched their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.

It was Hutchinson's second shutout of the season and the team's 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 of the game, with Blake Wheeler getting his 13th of the season at 1:08 and Evander Kane following up with his 10th on the second shot at 6:06 of the first period.

Chris Thorburn and defenceman Jay Harrison, whose shot may have been tipped in by a teammate, scored second-period goals for the Jets (26-14-8).

Fans gave the players a loud, standing ovation as the seconds counted down. The last time Winnipeg had a shutout at home was Dec. 31, 2013, a 3-0 victory over Buffalo.

The Blue Jackets (20-22-3) have been shut out three times this season.

Columbus is hosting the all-star game on Sunday, but there may be no celebrating for goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Bobrovsky, who's slated to play in his first all-star game, was replaced by Curtis McElhinney near the midway point of the second period. He had to be helped off the ice after appearing to hurt himself stretching to stop a wide shot by Jets forward Michael Frolik.

Bobrovsky had stopped nine of the 12 shots he faced. McElhinney made 17 saves in relief. Columbus had won its past two games during this three-day road trip.

The Jets go into the break picking up points in seven straight games (6-0-1).

Wheeler opened the scoring when he took a pass from Andrew Ladd and got a backhand shot off as he was spinning around and falling down in the slot. It was his 13th goal of the season.

Kane took a dropped pass by Mark Scheifele just outside the top of the right face-off circle and fired a low shot at Bobrovsky, who had to look back in the net after the puck went through his pads at 6:06 for the 2-0 lead.

The Blue Jackets had a number of opportunities during the opening period, including a pair of power plays, but some good saves by Hutchinson and some blocked shots by the Jets kept them off the scoreboard. Columbus outshot Winnipeg 14-6.

Columbus had the game's third power play early in the second, but a minute after it expired, Harrison's point shot went through traffic past Bobrovsky.

Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba, making his return after missing 16 games with an injury, had been in the penalty box for tripping and then assisted 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 defenceman Fedor Tyutin's left skate fell off on the ice near his team's goal with 8:18 remaining in the period. Tyutin could barely balance and tried to position his body to block any shots. He was then supported by a teammate as he made his way to the dressing room, but returned to the game.

Winnipeg soon made it 4-0 when Thorburn scored on a rebound with 5:50 remaining.

The Jets flipped the table in the middle frame, outshooting the Blue Jackets 17-7 to go ahead 23-21.

Hutchinson had fans chanting his name in the third period after he robbed a close shot by Columbus centre Brandon Dubinsky with about eight minutes left.

Notes: Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien is the only Jets player participating in this weekend's NHL all-star game in Columbus. The Blue Jackets have three players selected to make their all-star debut ??? Bobrovsky and forwards Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen. It's the first time the franchise has had more than one player in the game ??? Winnipeg right-winger Anthony Peluso was playing in his 100th career NHL game.

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