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Kane leads Jets past Blue Jackets in return to lineup

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel told the media after his team's morning skate Monday that he hoped left wing Evander Kane would make an impact and provide some offense in his return from injury.

Kane came through on both counts Monday night.

He set up the first goal and scored the game-winner in the third period to lead the Jets to a 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

"He was good for a guy who's been out for awhile," Noel said.

Kane, who missed six games with a lower-body injury, completed a 3-on-1 with a wrist shot at 10:35 of the third period to give Winnipeg a 3-1 lead before Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin put in a rebound 64 seconds later to pull the Blue Jackets back to within a goal.

"I tried to fake the D to look like I was going to pass to give me some more room to cut in," Kane said. "He did. He let me cut in to shoot."

Winnipeg (15-15-5) also got goals from rookie Mark Scheifele and Bryan Little. RJ Umberger scored the first goal for Columbus (14-16-4).

Max Montoya, who had 22 saves, got the win after No. 1 goalie Ondrej Pavelec played in a 6-4 loss Saturday to the Dallas Stars. Mike McKenna, making his second straight start with the Blue Jackets' top two goalies injured, made 29 saves in the loss.

Montoya said the Blue Jackets' first shot, by Cam Atkinson in the opening 75 seconds, was his toughest.

"The team did a great job tonight," Montoya said. "Outside of that [first shot], the shots were from the outside."

Winnipeg played a strong defensive game, Columbus forward Matt Calvert said.

"They do a good job packing the net and blocking shots," he said. "We got a few through, but we didn't really push hard until the end of the game."

Kane's game did not start well. Early in the second period, he was hit in the left foot by a slap shot from Columbus defenseman David Savard and had to go to the dressing room to get checked.

He returned to find Scheifele for a wrist shot that gave the Jets a 1-0 lead at 13:59 of the second.

Soon after the goal, Kane went feet first into the end boards after being checked by Jack Johnson and losing an edge.

The Jets were 2-3-1 without Kane, including 0-2-1 in the previous three. Kane has eight goals and eight assists in 27 games.

"I put on my skates. I try to help this team win. That's just how I am," he said. "I was able to do that tonight, and I hope it continues.

Winnipeg carried the lead from Scheifele's second-period goal into the third before Little put the Jets up 2-0 at 2:28 while Atkinson was serving the front end of a double minor for high-sticking on rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba.

Dustin Byfuglien took a shot from the point that Little tipped through McKenna's pads for his 14th goal, extending his point streak to four games (two goals, two assists).

Umberger drew the Blue Jackets to within 2-1 with a wraparound at 8:42 after taking a pass from Calvert.

It was a rough night for the Blue Jackets (14-16-4) in many regards. They had a first-period goal disallowed, by the time the second period was seven minutes old, they watched three players leave due to injuries.

Defenseman Dalton Prout (upper body) and forward Derek MacKenzie (lower body) were injured in the first period, and Tyutin had to leave after being cut in the face by Winnipeg forward James Wright's stick.

Prout was injured 50 seconds into his first shift. MacKenzie managed 3:25 of ice time on five shifts. Neither returned, but Tyutin did for the third period.

Columbus coach Todd Richards had no updates on Prout or MacKenzie.

"Injuries and being shorthanded hurt us, especially on the back end," he said. "When Tyutin took the stick and you're already missing Prout, you're down to four D. Then we had a penalty kill. We spent extra time in our zone, but our defensemen were gassed."

Columbus thought it grabbed the 1-0 lead with 45.9 seconds left in the first period when Atkinson poked the puck between Montoya's pads during a scrum in the crease, but referee Tim Peel disallowed the goal, ruling Calvert made contact with Montoya.

"Those calls can go either way sometimes," Calvert said. "I felt I was pushed in and tried to dodge him. I thought the puck was in before."

Trouba, who fought Calvert in the game's first two minutes, checked the Columbus forward but the puck appeared to be in the net before Calvert made contact with Montoya. Peel determined the incidental contact prevented Montoya from doing his job.

"I got bumped," Montoya said. "I thought I did and (the referee) thought I did. I don't know at what point."

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