Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

The Devin made 'em do it

Seto breaks scoring drought with a pair, including the winner

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Fred Greenslade / Special for the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec looks at the puck in the net as Vancouver Canucks' Alexander Edler celebrates his first-period goal in Winnipeg Friday.

He's had an awful time of it lately with his new team but Devin Setoguchi found a way Friday night to be the right kind of difference.

The veteran winger, 27, scored a pair of goals including the winner just 2:56 from the finish to deliver the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at the MTS Centre.

"It's always nice... you guys know the stats more than I do," Setoguchi said after ending his latest goal drought, seven games. "It's nice to get on the board and be able to contribute, for sure."

Friday marked Setoguchi's first appearance in the goal column since Jan. 13. That goal against Phoenix was relief from an 18-game blanking that stretched all the way back to Dec. 2.

Another compounding factor this week was what turned out to be a decisive play in Tuesday night's home loss to Nashville.

Late in the second period of that one, Setoguchi took a retaliation penalty against Preds defenceman Shea Weber and the visitors turned the power play into the winning goal by Mike Fisher early in the third. Friday night, in reaching 10 goals for the season, Setoguchi was a key part of the Jets' early start, going to the net and being tough on his skates as he tipped home a 2-0 goal just 6:07 into the contest.

Then in the third after Vancouver's Jason Garrison tied the game with 8:10 left in regulation, Setoguchi scored again to decide the outcome.

He trailed a Jets rush during a delayed penalty and when the puck finally came across to him from defenceman Jacob Trouba, he buried a low shot to the far side past Canucks goalie Eddie Lack.

"This time of year you've got to find a way," Setoguchi said. "They're ahead of us in the standings and the other night Nashville was and we let one slip away there. We thought if we're going to crawl back into this thing we're going to have to take some wins at the end of the season here."

Response team

The Jets are turning into a response team.

They rallied twice on Tuesday within a minute of Nashville goals.

Friday, when Vancouver tied the game 2-2 in the second period, there was an answer within two minutes as Michael Frolik restored the lead.

Then after Jason Garrison pulled the Canucks even once again in the third period, it was Devin Setoguchi who showed the home team was not going to back away. His winning shot came with just 2:56 left in regulation.

"Those things are going to happen," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. "Their goalie made some huge saves for them to keep them in it, much like Monty did for us in Chicago. They did a good job getting back in the game but I like the fact we stuck with it. There's a confidence with our offence right now that we can push it at times during games and create chances and goals when they're needed."

Defence improving

Under Maurice, the Jets are now 7-2-0 and have improved to 26-25-5.

In this time, they have yielded 20 goals.

In the nine games prior to Maurice's arrival, the Jets surrendered 35 goals and were 3-6-0.

Friday's win was also a move in the standings. Winnipeg pulled to within six points of the sagging Canucks, who have lost four of the last five games but still cling to the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.

The margin remains 63 points to 57, with 26 games remaining in the regular season.

Road work

After ending January 7-7, the Jets now vault into February with a four-game road trip before their Olympic break begins next weekend. The trip starts Sunday in Montreal, carries on to Carolina Tuesday, Washington Thursday and St. Louis Saturday.

Winnipeg's record against Eastern Conference teams this season -- their first three opponents on this trip -- is 12-9-1.

-- with files from Ed Tait

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2014 C3

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