WINNIPEG — Ondrej Pavelec made 39 saves for his sixth consecutive win as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 on Thursday.
Mark Scheifele and Jim Slater had a goal and an assist apiece for Winnipeg (39-24-12) and Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, and Adam Lowry also scored.
Dustin Tokarski stopped 17 of 22 shots for the Canadiens (46-21-8), who were resting starter Carey Price. Andrei Markov and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal, which hadn’t lost two straight since March 4.
The victory kicked off a four-game homestand for the Jets, who still hold the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, three points ahead of idle Calgary.
Winnipeg is now 12-2-2 in its last 16 games at home. They host Chicago on Sunday.
Byfuglien, back on the ice after missing nine games with an upper-body injury, punctuated his return by scoring his 16th goal of the season at 12:33 of the first period when his shot trickled under Tokarski’s pads.
Montreal had two power plays after a pair of penalties by Wheeler, but couldn’t get a goal past Pavelec, who was cheered “Pavy, Pavy” by fans.
The Canadiens outshot the Jets 20-5 in the opening period.
The teams combined for a trio of goals in just over three minutes in the second, starting after two Canadiens collided into each other behind their net.
Jets defenceman Tyler Myers stole the puck, passed it to Scheifele out front and he flipped it over Tokarski at 6:05 for his 14th goal of the season and the 2-0 lead.
Markov’s shot from inside the blue-line 41 seconds later beat Pavelec to make it 2-1, but Slater had a rebound bounce off his skate past Tokarski at 9:13 and the Jets regained the two-goal cushion.
Wheeler scored his 24th goal of the season with one minute left in the period. Drew Stafford assisted, extending his career-high points streak to eight games with four goals and six assists.
Montreal increased its shots advantage 31-13 in the middle frame.
Gallagher, playing in his 200th NHL career game, made it 4-2 at 11:37 of the third, but Lowry scored 45 seconds later.
The Jets had only beaten the Canadiens once at MTS Centre — on Dec. 22, 2011 — in four attempts heading into Thursday’s game.
Montreal returns home for three games, starting with Florida on Saturday.