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Kane makes popping in rebound look easy

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Evander Kane said there was nothing easy about his game-winner Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins.

It looked kind of easy. A Grant Clitsome shot from the left-wing boards squirted through Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and when the spinning puck appeared in the crease behind and to Rask's left, Kane had to skate a couple of strides to pop it into the open net.

"Those empty nets have haunted me in the past so it was nice to finish that off," Kane said after the 3-1 victory.

Was he surprised to see the puck?

"No, I saw him kind of turn and the puck came out and I was just Johnny-on-the-spot, as my dad would call it, to put it in," he said.

Kane credited Blake Wheeler as instrumental in getting the Jets turned in the right direction Tuesday.

"It was nice to come out and get the guys going a bit," he also said about the third period. "Wheels was moving and it seemed like the rest of our team started to move. He made a great tip (for the 1-1 goal) and I think that got the fans into it and got the bench into it."

Kane's 12th goal of the season, with just 7:19 to play, was his team-leading fourth game-winner.

TOBY INCHING CLOSER: Toby Enstrom was wearing regular colours at Tuesday's game-day practice, having dumped the orange 'no-contact' jersey. Not surprisingly, a large crowd of media was waiting for him when he returned to the dressing room.

"Wow," began Enstrom, "that's a lot of cameras. I'm not that interesting."

The Jets haven't set a time frame for Enstrom's return, but will have to first see if he can handle contact on the injured shoulder that has kept him out of the lineup for 17 games.

"It feels good being back with the team. Being back with the same guys feels really good," Enstrom said. "We haven't set a time and are taking it slow here. We'll see in the next couple of days coming up here. The last couple of days I've been feeling great and skating with the team. It's been a tough couple of weeks here and I'll be happy to be back playing soon."

NEW/OLD FACE: Arturs Kulda was on the ice for the first time on Tuesday after returning to the Jets from the KHL. He'll be a depth defenceman for the club going forward, but Noel said he would have no issues inserting him into the lineup if warranted. Kulda hasn't seen any game action since his KHL club was eliminated from the playoffs on March 5.

"I trust his game," said Noel. "I don't know I'm going to judge on practice but I thought he was very good last year in the games. We'll see how he does in practice and we'll go from there."

"It feels nice to be back with the guys," said Kulda, who appeared in nine games with the Jets and 63 in St. John's last year. I'm looking forward to the games "I think (the KHL season) went pretty good. We had a good team, made the playoffs, were in the first round, unfortunately we lost in Game 7. My first goal was to play in the NHL this year, but I knew there was probably going to be a lockout so I just decided to play maybe at a high level. I think I've spent enough time in the AHL and it was time to make a change."

WORK, REST, REPEAT: Ask around the NHL and every coach and player will talk about how they are managing the condensed schedule these days -- especially with playoff races heating up.

"You start to get used to it," said Jets centre Bryan Little. "This year it seems a bit different, it seems more jammed together. It seems like you don't have as much time to recover. (Monday) we had a day off and you just look forward to it, look forward to doing nothing. I just barely got up all day. I was just exhausted.

"You mix that in with the travel and it's hard. You have little bumps and bruises that don't heal because you're playing every night. It's tough but the good thing is every team has to go through that so nobody really has an advantage with that."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 20, 2013 D2

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