WINNIPEG – Mark Scheifele scored two goals and a pair of assists as the reborn Winnipeg Jets won their first NHL pre-season game at home with a 6-1 victory Tuesday over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Paul Postma also notched a goal and three assists in the split-squad game before a jubilant crowd of 15,004 at MTS Centre.
The Jets raised their sticks to the screaming crowd as they left the ice.
Scheifele was Winnipeg’s seventh-overall pick in this year’s NHL draft.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd, Kevin Clark and Ivan Telegin also scored.
Columbus got its lone goal from Ryan Johansen.
Winnipeg defenceman Dustin Byfuglien and forward Nik Antropov had a pair of assists.
Earlier in Columbus, Ohio, Maksim Mayorov had a goal and an assist in the Jackets’ 5-1 win over Winnipeg. Nick Holden, Boone Jenne, Antoine Vermette and Samuel Pahlsson also scored for Columbus.
Evander Kane scored the lone goal for the Jets.
In Winnipeg, fans were chanting “Go Jets Go” before the players even stepped on the ice.
And when they did, they were greeted by a standing ovation and loud singing of the Canadian national anthem.
It was a long-awaited moment for the fans.
The Jets left Winnipeg after the 1995-96 season to become the Phoenix Coyotes, leaving fans to adopt the American Hockey League Manitoba Moose that fall.
When the announcement came last May that Moose owner True North Sports and Entertainment had purchased the Atlantic Thrashers and was moving them to the Manitoba capital, it sent the city into a frenzy of anticipation.
Even the game’s first fight 37 seconds into the first period got the fans roaring as Byfuglien went at it with Cody Bass.
Byfuglien, who’s facing four charges in Minnesota related to impaired boating, led all NHL blue liners in goals last season with 20 and added 33 assists.
Postma opened the game’s scoring at 7:49, getting the puck past Blue Jackets goalie Curtis Sanford, who stayed in for the full game.
Winnipeg started Ondrej Pavelec in net and switched to David Aebischer to start the third period.