A hat trick from rookie Nikolaj Ehlers and a pair of goals from Dustin Byfuglien fuelled a 5-2 Winnipeg Jets victory over the Arizona Coyotes Tuesday night.
Veteran winger Blake Wheeler drew assists on all of Ehlers’ goals. The rookie’s first-career hat trick extended his point streak to four games.
Brad Richardson and Anthony Duclair scored for Arizona (24-20-5).
Connor Hellebuyck turned away 32 shots for the Jets (22-24-3) for his 12th victory in his 22nd start of the season.
Ehlers opened the scoring on the power play 6:55 into the first, capitalizing on Mark Stone’s second penalty of the game – a hooking call that hauled down Ehlers as he found a net-side rebound.
A challenge from Arizona head coach Dave Tippett was needed before Ehlers’ goal became official, but video review determined Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, who earned the goal’s primary assist, did not interfere with Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue as a Wheeler rebound found Ehlers’ stick.
Ehlers scored his second with 6:07 remaining in the first, knocking Wheeler’s centring pass out of mid-air, off the post, and off Domingue’s back and in to make it 2-0.
Byfuglien extended Winnipeg’s lead to 3-0 six minutes into the second period. Appearing to dump the puck into the Arizona zone from centre, Byfuglien turned his hips as he released a slapper and fooled Domingue, beating the goaltender under his right pad.
Ehlers completed the hat trick at 14:31 of the second, taking a Wheeler centring pass while coasting backwards before wiring a wrister high-blocker on Domingue. It was the 19-year-old’s first multi-point game of the season. He has 12 goals and 10 assists in 49 games.
With Jets defencemen Ben Chiarot and Jacob Trouba off for holding and high-sticking late in the second, Winnipeg’s 28th-ranked penalty kill went to work down 5-on-3 for 1:45 against Arizona’s 14th-ranked power play. But the Coyotes played dangerously, allowing a Bryan Little breakaway moments before Byfuglien cashed in on his own for his 14th goal of the season.
The Jets remain perfect at home against Arizona – 6-0-0 since the franchise relocated from Atlanta in 2011.Report Typo/Error