Jets 4, Hurricanes 3, (OT)

Jason Bell, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WINNIPEG -- Dustin Byfuglien's overtime goal lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a crucial 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
The big blueliner scored on a rebound, finishing off a two-on-one with captain Andrew Ladd, just 1:23 into overtime as Winnipeg earned its fifth straight victory, all coming at the MTS Centre.
A pair of defensemen, Zach Bogosian and Paul Postma, also scored for the Jets, while Blake Wheeler scored on a breakaway in the third period.
Carolina forward Alexander Semin scored with just 1:12 left in regulation time to knot the score 3-3, while Tuomo Ruutu had two goals for the Hurricanes.
The Jets led 1-0 and 2-1 at the period breaks.
Winnipeg (23-19-2) stayed locked up in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with the New York Rangers, who beat the Florida Panthers 6-1 on Thursday and still have a game in hand on the Jets.
Winnipeg is just two points back of the Washington Capitals for first in the Southeast Division. The Caps were dumped 3-1 by the Ottawa Senators.
The Jets and Caps both have four games remaining, and they play each other next week in Washington.
The loss officially eliminated Carolina (17-24-1) from the playoff race. The club remains second-to-last in the conference, ahead of only Florida.
The Hurricanes have won just two of their last 18 games.
Ondrej Pavelec made 23 saves in the Winnipeg net while Carolina goalie stopped 27 shots.
The Jets scored the only goal of the opening period at 12:13 when Bogosian joined Little and Ladd on a three-on-two, took a pass and chipped the puck past Peters for his fourth of the year.
Tested just three times in the first period, Pavelec had to be rock-solid in the second period and, at times, absolutely brilliant. Just over five minutes into the period, with Carolina pressing for the equalizer on the power play, he threw out the paddle of his goal stick to knock down what looked like a sure goal by blueliner Justin Faulk, who had been staring at an open cage.
Less than a minute later, he gloved a low shot by Chad Larose to snuff out another quality scoring chance.
Ignited by his acrobatics, the Jets pressed, drew a penalty and went up 2-0 on a power-play goal by Postma, his fourth of the year.
The Hurricanes cut the lead in half midway through the second period when Ruutu notched his first of the year, firing a wrist shot through traffic past Pavelec.
Wheeler and Ruutu traded third-period goals, and then Semin tied things with 72 seconds remaining in the period.
NOTES -- Hurricanes' forward Jeff Skinner did not play Thursday. He's back in Raleigh, N.C., undergoing tests to determine the extent of a head injury suffered Tuesday in Ottawa when he was leveled near center ice by Senators' defenseman Jared Cowen. No penalty was called on Cowen for the hit, and no disciplinary action was taken by the NHL. Skinner, 20, missed 16 games last season with a concussion, and was out five games this season after being knocked into the boards in a game Feb. 14. ... Mike Santorelli, picked up from Florida at the trade deadline, scored in the shootout Tuesday for the Jets in a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay, improving his career shootout record to a remarkable 10 goals on 19 attempts (52.6 percent). ... Carolina blueliner Joni Pitkanen, who suffered a broken bone in his foot April 2 against Washington, underwent surgery this week. He should be ready for the start of NHL training camp in September. ... Veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey has been named the Jets' nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually by the NHL to a player who exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Hainsey, 32, has registered 12 assists, is among the league leaders in shots blocked and has just 10 penalty minutes this season. He was also front-and-center as a player representative during negotiations to end the NHL lockout. ... The Hurricanes are near the bottom of the NHL's overall standings, but it's not from a lack of trying to fill the net. The club led the league in shots per game (32.8) prior to Thursday's action. ... Andrew Ladd's assist on Zach Bogosian's first-period goal was the 300th point of his NHL career.

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