Jets rout Hurricanes 8-1 to take Central Division lead
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — With first place in their sights, the Winnipeg Jets delivered their most dominant performance of the season.
Kevin Hayes, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor and Ben Chiarot each had a goal and an assist. Adam Lowry also scored as Winnipeg posted its largest victory of the season and moved ahead of idle Nashville atop the Central Division.
“We forced them to make some plays at our line,” Wheeler said. “Fortunately for us, we got a couple sticks and got some odd-man rushes the other way and were able to convert.”
The Jets scored three times in the first 10 minutes to jump ahead early and then three times in the final 10 minutes to turn it into a rout. Laurent Brossoit made 28 saves.
Curtis McElhinney stopped only 21 of 29 shots for the Hurricanes. Greg McKegg scored their lone goal midway through the third period.
“We have had a couple bad games, but nothing like that,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It was shocking. I didn’t expect that at all.”
Hayes, Wheeler and Chiarot all scored in the first 10 minutes to set the tone immediately. Ehlers scored at the end of the first period and Copp’s first goal came in the final minute of the second to make it 5-0.
All of the Jets’ first five goals were scored from the slot as their forwards maneuvered largely uncovered through the Hurricanes zone.
“We were driving well,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “We were on the puck pretty good. We knocked a bunch of things down that went our way. We were good, they had a tough night.”
In all, 13 players had a point for the Jets. Each of their four lines scored at least once.
“When we’re able to play four lines, we can play a really fast, heavy game,” Wheeler said. “That’s what we want to get to every night.”
The game got loose at the end.
Connor, Copp and Lowry all found the net with less than seven minutes to go, making it Carolina’s most lopsided loss of the season. That included Copp and Lowry scoring in the final minute.
“What happened in the first 10 minutes of the game and what happened in the last minute of that game was totally, totally inexcusable and something that quite frankly we’re all ashamed of,” Hurricanes forward Justin Williams said. “Giving them chance after chance after chance, we all owe (McElhinney) an apology after that.”
NOTES: Winnipeg is 7-2 in its last nine games at Carolina. The Jets have won five of their last six against the Hurricanes overall. … Jets D Dustin Byfuglien (ankle) returned to Winnipeg for treatment and missed his ninth straight game. D Josh Morrissey (arm) missed his fifth consecutive game. … Hurricanes D Trevor van Riemsdyk played his 300th career game. … Hurricanes forward Nino Neiderreiter finished minus-6, a franchise record. Sebastian Aho was minus-5.
Jets: At the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
Hurricanes: At the Nashville Predators on Saturday.