Eric Staal led the Carolina Hurricanes with two goals and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets in NHL action at the MTS Centre Sunday.
Antti Miettinen's first two goals of the season weren't enough for the Jets, who had a chance to tie the Washington Capitals in eighth place with a win tonight.2
Miettinen found his touch around the net after being held out of the scoring column all season.
Miettinen had gone 34 games without a goal after being scooped up on waivers by the Jets last fall, but scored twice in the second period in a span of eight minutes 25 seconds to erase a 2-1 Carolina lead and breathe some life into Winnipeg’s playoff hopes. The Jets entered the night two points back of the eighth-place Washington Capitals, who fell 5-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday night.
Nik Antropov has the Jets other goal – and he left the game with a lower-body injury.
The most important business is their own and the next chance for the Winnipeg Jets to make their case for the Stanley Cup playoffs comes tonight at the MTS Centre when the Carolina Hurricanes visit for a 7:30 p.m. start (TSN Jets, TSN 1290).
It's Andrew Ladd bobblehead night, and the first 10,000 fans into the building receive one.
The Jets have 76 points in 71 games. They are two points behind the Washington Capitals, who currently occupy eighth place in the Eastern Conference, the last slot for post-season qualification.
The Caps are at Chicago tonight.
"We'll have enough with our opponent today," Jets coach Claude Noel said this morning, asked about scoreboard watching and the Hurricanes, who also have won two in a row.
Saturday, for instance, 10th-place Buffalo and Southeast Division-leading Florida played a three-pointer, with Florida winning in a shootout.
"That's why you can't concern yourself with watching these things, trying to figure out of they win, if they lose, if it's a two-point or a one-point," Noel said. "You've got to win your games. It's late in the year right now and the points are too valuable."
Jets right-winger Blake Wheeler nearly scoffed at the notion that the Jets would have a letdown game tonight after an emotional night Friday when his team defeated Washington.
"These are games that I think we might even put a little more emphasis on," Wheeler said. "Games like Washington, that's a no-brainer. If you don't come out with your A game in that one, you don't deserve to be in the race. Tonight, games like this, Carolina's been playing really well ... anything but our best effort tonight will result in a disappointing evening for us.
"Maybe these ones show even more about teams. These are where good teams come out and win these games."
Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, who delivered Friday night's winning goal against the Caps, had an infrequent visit with reporters today and thought this stretch of crucial games was the perfect time for his team to show its quality.
"It's the time of the year that every team is trying to get their final points and make that final push," Byfuglien said. "I would hope there wouldn't be a letdown at this time of year. It's critical times and points that we need. There shouldn't be any letdown. This should be a time to be at the top of our game."
Tonight, the Jets will have defenceman Zach Bogosian back in the lineup. He missed five games with a lower-body injury and he has missed 12 of the last 13 with injury.
Out tonight is right-winger Eric Fehr, with an upper-body injury. Fehr's spot on a line with Jim Slater and Tanner Glass will be taken by AHL call-up Spencer Machacek, who has 17 goals and 48 points for the St. John's IceCaps this season.