Jets-Sharks Preview

The Associated Press

The Winnipeg Jets continued their winning ways by stopping a red-hot team.

Slowing down Joe Pavelski could be just as great a challenge.

Pavelski has scored six times in his last three games for the San Jose Sharks entering Thursday night's home matchup with the surging Jets.

Both teams have won four straight, and Winnipeg (23-23-5) was impressive in winning 3-2 at Anaheim on Tuesday. The Jets handed the league-best Ducks their first regulation home loss and third defeat in 22 contests overall.

Winnipeg has won all four games since Paul Maurice replaced Claude Noel as coach on Jan. 12.

"It's only two points, but it feels really good, especially in this building," said goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who made 40 saves. "The whole team is playing with confidence. The new coach let us know we're good players, and we can beat anybody."

The Jets prevented two of the Western Conference leaders in goals - Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf - from scoring Tuesday. Now they will face Pavelski, whose surge has him tied for the most goals in the West with 27.

Pavelski scored twice in Monday's 3-2 home win over Calgary, giving him seven points in his three-game run.

"It feels how you should play the game all the time, to be honest," said Pavelski, who has no goals in five career games against the Jets franchise. "It's the way you picture it. I've just visualized this a few times, so it shouldn't be anything new."

Pavelski has scored a league-high 18 times since Dec. 10 in a span of 20 games, getting within four of his career high of 31 goals from 2011-12.

"It's fun to watch," teammate Tommy Wingels said. "They go in a whole different variety of ways as you saw tonight. When you're hot, you're hot. He'll certainly take it and as a team we'll take it as well."

Joe Thornton added his NHL-leading 47th assist for San Jose (32-16-6), which has won seven of eight at home. Monday's effort still wasn't good enough to please coach Todd McLellan.

"It's a night we probably got away with one," McLellan said. "The mind-set wasn't good so we've gotta regroup here. If we continue to play like that, we won't be winning."

This win streak isn't new for San Jose, which has already posted two six-game runs this season.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, is seeking to win five in a row for the first time since April 6-18, 2013. The Jets received a boost Tuesday with the return of Evander Kane, who had been out since Jan. 7 after hurting his hand in a fight.

Kane had a goal and an assist and Bryan Little added two assists for the Jets, who prevailed despite being outshot 42-21. Little has eight points in a five-game point streak, and Blake Wheeler has six in a four-game run.

Maurice refused to take credit for the turnaround.

"Before I got here, I thought this was a good hockey team," Maurice said. "Now we're feeling good, and that changes everything."

Winnipeg owns the league's second-worst road power play at 9.6 percent. San Jose has killed off 22 of 23 penalties over its last 10 home games.

The Jets posted a 5-4 shootout home win in the teams' lone meeting Nov. 10.

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