The Blue Jackets, as is custom, played 60 minutes of hockey last night against the scuffling Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.

Not surprisingly, it was a less-than-complete performance. But the Jackets didn’t need to be sound for an entire hour. They needed only a superb nine minutes to send the Jets and embattled coach Claude Noel to a 6-3 loss, their fifth straight defeat.

 For the Blue Jackets, it was the second leg of a home/road back-to-back. They were prone to stick fouls, they were in an unfamiliar building against a desperate opponent, and backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney was in the nets.

But after slogging through the first period trailing 1-0, the Blue Jackets exploded for four goals in the first half of the second and tacked on two more in the third in front of 15,004.

The four goals, scored between the 36-second and 9:07 marks of the second, tied a franchise record for most goals in a single period of a road game and pushed the Jackets (21-20-4) above .500 for the first time since they were 2-1 in early October.

Boone Jenner and Mark Letestu each scored two goals.

“We just dug deep,” defenseman James Wisniewski said. “I won’t say we had a couple of lucky breaks, but we just capitalized on some things. And when you get on a roll like that, it gets contagious.”

Jets defenseman Eric O’Dell opened the scoring with his first career goal at 4:32 of the first, sweeping a puck into McElhinney’s net after the goalie couldn’t corral a long rebound off the end board behind him.

But the 1-0 deficit turned into a 4-1 lead posthaste.

Letestu scored a short-handed goal in the first minute of the second period with an assist from a streaking Derek MacKenzie.

Cam Atkinson, Wisniewski and Ryan Murray combined to make it 2-1 in high fashion, with Atkinson finishing a pretty tic-tac-toe sequence from the lower left circle.

Ryan Johansen fed Nick Foligno in front to make it 3-1 at 8:26.

Jenner, tackled by Jets defenseman Adam Pardy on a breakaway, drew a penalty shot and then converted to give the Jackets a three-goal lead at 9:07.

Tobias Enstrom made it 4-2 with 8:05 left in the second, and Jenner, Letestu and Jets center Bryan Little added goals in the third period. But it was the outburst in the middle period that propelled the Jackets to a third consecutive win.

Coach Todd Richards chuckled when asked what was said in the first intermission after an opening period in which the Jackets took only six shots.

“I had a lot to say after the first,” Richards said. “I wasn’t happy with the way we played, and I think the players felt the same way.”

It was Jenner’s second two-goal game of the season. Letestu, who broke a 39-game goal drought last week, has three goals in his past four games.

Wisniewski and MacKenzie each had two assists. Twelve Jackets players had at least one point.
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