After a dominant win over the defending champs, the Winnipeg Jets were flying high, but an old friend helped bring them back to earth Friday night.
Patrik Laine scored twice in his return to the Columbus lineup as the Blue Jackets humbled the Jets 4-1.
Playing in his first game since Nov. 12, Laine got the visitors on the board first at the 6:48 mark of the first, wiring a wicked wrist shot over the shoulder of David Rittich. There was a smattering of boos when Laine’s goal was announced.
Less than four minutes later, Columbus expanded the lead. Erik Gudbranson’s shot off the rush was stopped by Rittich but the rebound bounced off Pierre-Luc Dubois and into the net.
The one-way traffic continued in the second as Laine finished off a nice passing play from Boone Jenner and Johnny Gaudreau, making it 3-0 at the 3:19 mark of the middle frame.
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To this point in the game, the Jets had managed little in terms of sustained pressure but started mounting a charge after falling down by three. An extended stretch of zone time was highlighted by Morgan Barron hitting the post, but they were unable to get on the board.
What was already a steep climb became more daunting when Gustav Nyquist crashed the net untouched and banged home a feed from Gaudreau to make it 4-0 after two.
The Jets have seen multi-goal leads in the third period evaporate twice recently, but there would be no incredible rally on this night.
Winnipeg did manage to break the goose egg with 4:30 left when Dubois scored on the power play, but that’s all the Jets could muster as Joonas Korpisalo stopped the other 37 shots he faced on the night.
The Jets will try to start a new win streak on Sunday afternoon when they host the Anaheim Ducks. Pregame coverage on 680 CJOB begins at noon with puck drop shortly after 2 p.m.