Winnipeg Jets 2 Carolina Hurricanes 1 (Jets 28-25-5, Road 14-14-1) – With the win the Jets move to three games above the five hundred mark for the first time this year, while getting their road record to an even .500. The Jets have now won nine of their last 11, and five of their last six road games. With the win they moved to within two points of Vancouver in the west, the Canucks holding down the eighth spot. Vancouver lost in Boston, while the other big game saw Dallas win in Phoenix. The Jets do jump ahead of Nashville, and are now tied with Dallas, one point behind Phoenix. It was the Jets 33rd one-goal game of the season.
The first period was scoreless with some careless play by both teams leading to a number of scoring chances, forcing both Ondrej Pavelec and Anton Khudobin to make a number of outstanding saves. The Jets outshot the Hurricanes 11-9.
The only goal of the second period came from Andrew Ladd, his 13th of the season. Ladd now 3-7-10 in the last ten games. Ladd buried a rebound of a Micheal Frolik shot, with Bryan Little also picking up an assist, giving him 13 points in the last 14 games. A key part of the game later in the period with Zach Bogosian off for holding, the Jets were nailed with too many men on the ice. So for the eighth time this season the Jets were down two men (51 seconds) and for the eighth straight time they killed it off. Other than a shot off the post, the Hurricanes did not have a shot on goal on the power play. Adam Pardy made a number of key plays including a key blocked shot. Shots in the second were 12-9 Carolina.
Riley Nash tied the game early in the third, setting the stage the game winning goal with 1:03 left in regulation. Blake Wheeler started the play with a cross blue line pass to Jacob Trouba in the Carolina end. Trouba took the puck all the way around the Hurricanes goal, tried to get a pass to Mark Scheifele in front, but instead found Chris Thorburn at the edge of the circle who scored his second of the year for the win. Wheeler has 15 points in the last 14 games, Trouba nine points in the last 10 games. Final shots were 29-27 in favour of Carolina.
Pavelec is now 7-2 in his last nine games, allowing 20 goals against, including six games where he has allowed two or less. Al Montoya has played the other two in the 9-2 Jets run, allowing one goal in each. Bogosian for the fifth straight game led the Jets in ice time at 25:01, Trouba next at 24:13. Little had five shots on goal, four of which were great scoring chances. Face-offs very much favoured the Hurricanes, who finished at 64%. 37 hits for the Jets, Trouba leading the way with five. Trouba was a plus-1 and is now a plus-14 in the last 11 games to lead the team, Scheifele was a plus-1 and is now a plus-12 in the last 11 games and is second on the team.
"It wasn't one of our best games, but we found a way," commented Coach Paul Maurice post-game. "The effort was there, our structure was good, our goalie was good. Huge penalty kills. Just wasn't anything easy about the game but we handled it well." There was a lot of line matching with the Hurricanes wanting Manny Malhotra against the Little line and Eric Staal against the Scheifele line. "Scheifele is Winnipeg's dirty little secret, he's a pretty good player. I have no problem putting Scheifele out against anyone." Trouba struggled early in the game handling the puck, but Coach Maurice kept putting him out. "He had a couple of shifts that were unusual. But he wants the puck on his stick with a chance to win the game. He took it low with his head up, and he can make those big plays. He's been on the ice for a lot of big goals." On the penalty kill, "We got bodies and sticks where they needed to be. A big block by Pardy, that shot was a bomb."
Jets continue their four-game trip in Washington Thursday as for the second straight game they renew the old South East Division rivalry. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290). The pre-Olympic schedule concludes in St. Louis Saturday afternoon. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290).