WINNIPEG, MB - Another multi-goal night for Patrik Laine led Winnipeg to an important multi-point night in the standings as the Jets began their season-long six-game road trip off with a 3-2 win in Raleigh.
The Finnish superstar would also add an assist on the night, extending his point streak to eight games and now has 16 points (10G, 6A) during the streak. Laine has three two-goal games in his last four games and has seven multi-point efforts in his last eight contests.
Paul Stastny had a goal and assist for the Jets (39-17-9), who improve to 5-0-1 in their last six road games and are 7-2 in their last nine games as they try to keep pace with the Nashville Predators who also won on Sunday, and continue to hold a six-point lead over Winnipeg.
Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen were the goal scorers for Carolina (29-26-11) who had their two-game win streak snapped with the loss. The loss was a big one for the Hurricanes, who trail Columbus by two points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Laine got the Jets on the board 5:40 into the opening period, finishing off a nice pass from Nikolaj Ehlers in the slot where he wasted no time sending a wrist shot past Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward, who finished the night with 20 saves.
Carolina would tie things up before the first period would run out when Teravainen flipped a shot from the corner that bounced off Jets Dmitry Kulikov in front of the net and redirected past Connor Hellebuyck.
Winnipeg regained their lead early in the second with Laine notching his second of the night, and NHL leading 17th on the power play, giving the Jets a 2-1 lead. Winnipeg finished 1-for-2 with the man advantage and has scored a power play goal in seven of their last eight games, going 9-for-26 (34.6%) in that span. Laine’s second goal was his 35th of the season, tying him with William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights for third in the NHL. Only Evgeni Malkin (36), and Alex Ovechkin (40) have found the back of the net more this season.
Paul Stastny gave Winnipeg a two-goal lead midway through the third period after a Ben Chairot shot rattled off the crossbar and hit the referee in the face at the side of the net, Stastny found the loose puck and fired it into the net behind a stunned Ward, giving the Jets a 3-1 cushion.
The goal turned out to be big as Jordan Staal knocked home a rebound with just under five minutes to go in the final frame to get Carolina within one, but that’s as close as they would come as the Jets held off a Hurricanes late flurry to escape with a 3-2 win.
Hellebuyck won his 34th game of the season (34-10-8), tying the franchise record set by Kari Lehtonen during the 2006/07 season with the Atlanta Thrashers.
Blake Wheeler had an assist on Laine’s second goal, giving him 56 on the season, one assist back of Jakub Voracek who leads the NHL with 57.
The Jets now head to the Big Apple where they get set to face the New York Rangers on Tuesday night in the second game of their six-game road trip. The Rangers defeated the Jets 3-1 at Bell MTS Place back on February 11th led by a spectacular performance from Henrik Lundqvist.
Bill Burfoot, Manitoba Post