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Forces of good prevail at Jets-Hurricanes game

'Bad' Jets overpowered by their admirable alter egos

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A night of contrasts yielded a second victory of the season for the Winnipeg Jets.

And for one reason. The good was so good, the bad didn't have a chance.

The Jets rolled away from the opening faceoff on Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada appearance against the Carolina Hurricanes with two flat tires.

The Canes, who lost in overtime Friday night in St. Louis, were in a 2-0 driver's seat before seven minutes had gone by.

But then the Jets puny-so-far power play caught fire and the game changed on a swivel.

The home team scored five goals in a 15-minute span that carried over into the early part of the second period -- five goals in 15 minutes, how many times are you going to say that this season? -- and carried it through for a 5-3 victory before 15,004 customers at the MTS Centre.

"We didn't have the first period we wanted but we came out a lot stronger and wanted to show ourselves and the fans that we're a lot better team than we showed in the first," said Jets winger Evander Kane, who scored his first goal of the season. "We came out in the second and played real hard."

Kane, Andrew Ladd, Jim Slater, Kyle Wellwood and Alexander Burmistrov spread the scoring around as the Jets improved to 2-4-1.

"Certainly on the first power play we didn't do what we wanted to do and but by the end of the first, every time we put the puck on the net it seemed to be squirting to the side," said Wellwood, whose buzzer-beater near the end of the first squared the game at two. "So it just worked out that we were able to score tonight."

Winnipeg came into the game ranked 27th on the power play and 26th in penalty-killing.

So you can see that a night with a two-for-six power play, and a perfect seven-for-seven penalty kill went against the grain.

"We still weren't playing that great in my opinion, but it was a big goal for us," Jets coach Claude Noel said of Wellwood's shovel-in with 1.4 seconds left in the first. "It got the fans into the game. They got out of the game quickly but they wanted to get in it and we brought them back in and the guys did a good job in the second and third period. Guys were excellent."

After Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Skinner scored early in the game for the visitors, Noel brought out the hook for starter Ondrej Pavelec after just five shots.

Veteran Chris Mason came on and stopped 18 of 19 shots, including a barrage of 12 in five Carolina power plays in the third period, to collect his first win of the season.

"It just needed to be done," Noel said. "It just wasn't going. You go on your instincts and that was my instinct.

"He (Mason) is a real battler, good in the room, did a great job for us."

Mason didn't have a whole lot to do when he entered the game. Carolina had just two shots at him while the Jets were surging.

The goalie switch, however, paid off handsomely.

"Coaches do that to try to spark the guys and change the momentum," Mason said. "I think by no means was it Pav's fault. I think coaches do it to try to wake up the guys and I think it worked."

Carolina, now 3-3-2, hurt itself with first-period penalties that began less than a minute after the 2-0 lead was established.

"The one thing you couldn't do tonight in this situation was get into the penalty box," said head coach Paul Maurice. "We took four in the first period and then your bench gets all out of whack and then they tied the game.

The guy (Mason) made some real good saves at the end. It might have been the difference."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 23, 2011 0

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