Copp’s late goal lifts Jets to 4-3 win over Blue Jackets
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Jets coach Paul Maurice was thankful it wasn’t his team that made such an untimely mistake.
Andrew Copp scored with 1:54 left to lift Winnipeg to a 4-3 victory over Columbus on Saturday night. Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins tried to clear the puck up the middle of the ice but Copp knocked it down and put it in.
“I’m glad it was theirs. Really glad it was theirs,” Maurice replied when asked what he was thinking after Merzlikins committed the costly turnover.
Columbus coach John Tortorella wasn’t in the mood to talk about the play. As he walked toward reporters for his postgame interview session, he told them not to ask him about the goal.
“I’m warning you, I’ll walk,” Tortorella said.
Copp also had an assist for the Jets (14-9-1), who are 4-1-0 in their past five games.
“Luckily enough it kind of hit off a (defenseman) and slid in,” Copp said after scoring his fourth goal of the season. “Kind of a fortuitous bounce, but with two minutes left you’ll take them any way you can get them.”
Merzlikins turned aside 27 shots for the Blue Jackets, who are 3-1-1 in their last five games.
Maurice said Brossoit had cramped up and wanted to go back in, but he stuck with Hellebuyck. Maurice also said Morrissey should be fine and Beaulieu needed some tests.
Dubois said Copp’s goal was tough to swallow, but Merzlikins didn’t deserve all the blame.
“You have to find a way to push and to push the pace to try to break them because they’re playing with four defensemen,” Dubois said.
“So it’d be easy, but lazy, to say that we lost because of that mistake at the end because you have 60 minutes to win a game. It never comes down to just one minute or one mistake.”
Tortorella said his players tried hard.
“We were the better team that found a way to lose,” he said.
The game was tied 1-all after the first period and 3-3 after two.
Dubois got the power-play scoring started at 4:59 of the first with his 10th goal of the season, extending his point streak to four games with four goals and two assists in that span.
Winnipeg responded with Wheeler firing in a one-timer past Merzlikins for his sixth goal of the season at 8:23.
Ehlers came out of the penalty box for tripping early in the second period and promptly scored after a passing play with Wheeler to give the Jets a 2-1 lead at 5:19. It was Wheeler’s 600th point with the franchise.
The lead was short-lived as Jets defensemen Tucker Poolman and Luca Sbis were called for penalties nine seconds apart.
Jones scored with the two-man advantage at 6:30 and Nyquist netted his goal 47 seconds later to swing the score 3-2 in favor of Columbus.
Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski got an assist on Jones’ goal, pushing his point streak to six games with three goals and five assists.
Perreault tied it with just more than five minutes left in the second.
Morrissey left the game a minute after Nyquist’s goal, and Beaulieu departed with four minutes remaining.
Wheeler praised the four defensemen who had to play extra minutes.
“They did an amazing job and, honestly, it didn’t look like they were gasping for air. It didn’t look like treading water,” Wheeler said.
NOTES: The Blue Jackets outshot Winnipeg 29-19 through two periods. … The Jets got their second power play of the game early in the third, but couldn’t break the tie. They were 0 for 3 on the power play, while Columbus finished 3 for 5.
Blue Jackets: Return home to play Ottawa on Monday.
Jets: Begin a three-game road trip Wednesday in San Jose.