Jets, Byfuglien get monkey off their backs

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien (right) celebrates with goalie Ondrej Pavelec after...

Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien (right) celebrates with goalie Ondrej Pavelec after beating the Nashville Predators at MTS Centre. (Bruce Fedyck/USA TODAY Sports)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:49 AM ET

Dustin Byfuglien grabbed an imaginary monkey off his back during the first period and tossed it into the crowd in what was probably representative of the emotions he and his team were feeling on Friday night.

Joy and relief.

Byfuglien’s been dealing with some defensive-zone demons the past two games, while the Winnipeg Jets have been mired in a funk that saw them win just twice during the previous nine games.

None of that seemed to matter, at least for one night, as the Jets scored three times in the opening eight minutes and 23 seconds to chase goalie Carter Hutton and cruise to a 5-0 victory over the Nashville Predators before a crowd of 15,004 at MTS Centre on Friday night.

The Jets improved to 7-9-2 overall and will host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night to wrap up a two-game homestand.

The game wasn’t quite as lopsided as the score indicates, but Jets head coach Claude Noel didn’t want to delve too deep into the issues that need to be cleaned up.


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