RALEIGH, N.C. — Late in Thursday’s first period at PNC Arena, most of it being run by the visiting Winnipeg Jets, a disgruntled Carolina Hurricanes’ fan in Section 328 bellowed: “For gawd’s sake, these are the Atlanta Thrashers.”

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Late in Thursday’s first period at PNC Arena, most of it being run by the visiting Winnipeg Jets, a disgruntled Carolina Hurricanes’ fan in Section 328 bellowed: "For gawd’s sake, these are the Atlanta Thrashers."

Not Thursday.

Carolina Hurricanes' Jay McClement (18) and Tim Gleason collide as Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) skates with the puck during the first period in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday.

GERRY BROOME / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Carolina Hurricanes' Jay McClement (18) and Tim Gleason collide as Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (26) skates with the puck during the first period in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday.

And not for a while in this 2014-15 NHL season.

The Jets stayed with their buckle-down style of game against the ’Canes and scored a 3-1 victory to stop the home team’s six-game (5-0-1) points streak before a sparse crowd announced as 10,005.

It was another tight contest — Winnipeg owns the distinction today of having played the lowest-scoring games in the NHL so far this season — won by a pair of deflection goals by Blake Wheeler and a late empty-netter by Michael Frolik, making a winner of back-up goalie Michael Hutchinson.

The visitors dictated the style and earned the two points to make their mark 7-1-2 in the last 10 games. The amazing part of that is that in the process, the Jets have scored 18 goals and given up 14.

Their only regulation loss since Oct. 24 was Tuesday’s 3-0 setback in Montreal.

"It’s huge because you never want to lose two games in a row," Wheeler said after the Jets outshot Carolina 37-23. "That’s kind of a staple of good teams, teams that are playoff-calibre teams, teams that are contenders.

"When they go into games after losses, (they say), ‘We don’t lose two in a row.’ That was kind of our rallying cry."


Dirty double

Wheeler counted his sixth and seventh goals of the season by deflecting point shots by Mark Stuart and Zach Bogosian in the first and second periods.

"We’re a confident group right now," Wheeler said. "Our style of play is tough to play against. You can feel teams getting frustrated out there, similar to kind of how we would feel sometimes when we would play those stingy teams.

"It takes the wind out of your sails really quick."

Wheeler said there was no doubt within the team about how it was playing, even with the Montreal result.

"Like I said, we created enough to win that hockey game and it was a little bit of their goalie and a little bit of bad puck luck," he said. "That happens. It’s part of the game. Hockey’s weird like that; you’ll have days when the puck’s going in when it shouldn’t and it’s not going in when it should. You can’t let that get you down.

"The moral of the story was that we liked the way we’ve been playing recently and we didn’t want to get away from that because of one loss."

 

Road warriors

The Jets forced their tight style on the game and owned the first period Thursday, getting ahead after they were unable to score in Montreal.

Winnipeg’s record is now 6-3-1 away from home and the team is 6-1-2 so far in one of the season’s most demanding stretches of schedule, nine of 11 on the road.

"Coming in off a loss in Montreal, we established a level of play in the first period," said coach Paul Maurice. "There was a stretch there early in the second where we turned some pucks over and got a bit wobbly but we corrected it and had four really good chances in the second.

"We liked what we were getting but most of all I liked the third period. I thought we gave up the one back door chance but we looked solid."

 

Backup bonus

Hutchinson made 22 saves on the night and had only seven to face in a third period that didn’t involve much panic for his team.

He’s now 2-1 on the season in his three starts.

"Hutch is going to stop what he can see so we just have to make sure we’re clearing those guys out of the front," Bogosian said.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

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