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Hurricanes 3, Jets 1

The SportsXchange

WINNIPEG -- Carolina goalie Justin Peters stopped 34 shots as the Hurricanes vaulted back into the NHL playoff race with a 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday at MTS Centre.

The Hurricanes improved to 16-15-2 and are now four points behind the Southeast Division-leading Jets (18-16-2). The Jets are third in the Eastern Conference by way of their division lead.

Carolina has three games in hand on Winnipeg, with less than a month left in the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season.

Alexander Semin, Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal scored for the Hurricanes, while Olli Jokinen had the Jets' goal.

Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec made 25 saves.

On the game's first shift, the Hurricanes hemmed the Jets in their own end, and the persistent foreckeck paid off when Semin buried a rebound off Tuomo Ruutu's shot for his 10th goal of the season.

Just over eight minutes later, the Hurricanes increased the lead to 2-0 when Jussi Jokinen fired in his sixth goal one second after Evander Kane stepped out of the penalty box. Ruutu picked up his second assist.

Carolina led, 2-0, after 20 minutes.

But the Jets drew closer 1:26 into the middle frame when Olli Jokinen scored his seventh of the year, finishing off a two-on-one with Kane.

The Jets killed off four straight minor penalties in the last 10 minutes of the second period, including two that overlapped to give the Hurricanes two short five-on-three opportunities.

Pavelec was brilliant and also got some help from a post.

The Jets trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes.

Only 28 seconds into the third, Staal ripped a shot from the right faceoff dot that squeezed through Pavelec's pads to regain the two-goal lead.

Peters stopped two breakaways in the game, including one midway through the third period when Jets' defenseman Ron Hainsey joined the rush with his team shorthanded.

NOTES -- Carolina goalie Cam Ward remains on the injured reserve list because of a knee injury and missed his 12th straight game. His backup, Dan Ellis, is also on the injured reserve list. ... The Hurricanes had gained only one point in seven games since March 14 before Saturday's game. ... The Jets were not assessed a penalty Thursday night during a 4-0 loss in Pittsburgh, the first time that has happened in a game in franchise history. ... The Hurricanes play the Canadiens in Montreal on Monday night. The Jets, meanwhile, start a three-game trip Monday in Manhattan with a game against the Rangers. They also play the New York Islanders and the Canadiens. ... Jets' center Olli Jokinen is one goal shy of 300 for his NHL career. ... Hollywood star Jennifer Connelly was spotted in the press box at MTS Centre her with husband, actor Paul Bettany. She's in Winnipeg shooting a movie that, presumably, calls for winter scenes. There's still a pile of snow in the Canadian prairie city.
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