WINNIPEG -- The Carolina Hurricanes scored four first-period goals and held off the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 at MTS Centre on Friday.
The Hurricanes (24-21-8) led 4-0 after defenseman Justin Faulk scored 10:04 into the game, but the Jets got within 4-3 when forward Blake Wheeler scored with 6:12 remaining in the third period. However, Andrej Nestrasil ended the comeback with his second goal of the game when he finished off a 2-on-1 break with 1:20 remaining.
"We got two points," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We got off to a good start, so there are some positives, but lots and lots of things to work on. We're not quite where we were when we entered the All-Star break. We've got to get our team game back.
"I thought we did some good things structurally early, but then we got away from it and allowed them to build some momentum and get back in the game."
Video: CAR@WPG: Nestrasil scores goal on breakaway play
Phillip Di Giuseppe and Nestrasil scored in the first 3:05 to give Carolina a quick 2-0 lead. Jordan Staal's power-play goal at 4:33 ended starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck's night after he allowed three goals on six shots, and Faulk got his 15th of the season just past the midway point of the period.
Staal and Joakim Nordstrom each had two assists for the Hurricanes.
"We do have to learn how to play stronger with a lead like that and find ways to really [close out wins]," said Staal, who has two goals and seven assists in his past eight games. "We'll learn from this and keep going."
Video: CAR@WPG: Staal scores PPG to extend Hurricanes' lead
Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward made 33 saves, 17 in the third period, to win in his first start after missing six games because of a concussion.
"[Ward] has been really good since probably early December," Peters said. "I thought he did a good job and made some big saves."
Video: CAR@WPG: Ward dives to make an excellent save
The Hurricanes are 1-1-0 on a three-game Canadian road trip that ends against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.
Michael Hutchinson had 21 saves in relief of Hellebuyck. It was his first appearance since Jan. 3.
Alexander Burmistrov, Andrew Ladd and Byfuglien scored for the Jets (22-26-3), who ended a six-game homestand with five losses. They play at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
"We knew they would be quick," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. "They were on us pretty good early. We weren't quick enough.
"We didn't give our goaltender an opportunity to hold that time, and our goaltender didn't give us an opportunity to get through that time, where everybody was in on that."
Video: CAR@WPG: Byfuglien scores, brings Jets within a goal
Di Giuseppe's fourth goal 1:43 into the game followed a defensive-zone turnover by Jets forward Mathieu Perreault. Victor Rask's shot from the slot went wide of the net, but Di Giuseppe slipped past defenseman Tyler Myers and stuffed the rebound past Hellebuyck.
Staal's long right-side shot produced Nestrasil's sixth goal 1:22 later. Nestrasil controlled the rebound and slipped it into the net before Hellebuyck could set into position.
Carolina's first power play ended when Staal snapped an off-wing shot from the right circle that eluded Hellebuyck for his 11th goal and a 3-0 lead. Faulk slipped to the edge of Hutchinson's crease and swatted in a loose puck to put the Hurricanes up by four.
Video: CAR@WPG: Nestrasil scores goal off a rebound
"They were a lot quicker than us on pucks," Ladd said. "We understand now, or should understand now, what needs to happen from the get-go, right from the drop of the puck for our team to be successful, and that's moving and being on the puck."
However, Winnipeg pushed back.
Burmistrov's goal at 18:35 of the second period made it 4-1, and Ladd's power-play goal at 9:07 perked up the crowd. Wheeler's 14th, a goal originally credited to defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, pulled the Jets within one.
"We let our play slip very poorly in the third," Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey said. "They really had us in our zone. Their [defensemen] were active and really didn't let us out. They amped it up as you would expect, and we didn't have our best response. We got out of it, so we'll take it."
Video: CAR@WPG: Ladd scores on power play to cut deficit
Ward's return started quietly; Winnipeg had five shots in the first period. But with a big lead, Ward saw 31 shots in the final two periods and stopped several prime scoring chances after the Jets cut the deficit to one goal.
"Getting off to a 4-0 lead in the first period definitely helped relieve me," Ward said. "I was a little anxious before. I was really excited about getting the opportunity. Our team has been playing really well. When you get your opportunity, you have to make the most of it.
"When it's a 4-0 game and you [face] five shots in the first period, it's a test mentally. I thought in the second period I felt really sharp despite not getting a whole lot of work. I felt comfortable the whole night."
The Hurricanes are sixth in the Metropolitan Division but trail the third-place New York Islanders by two points.
"We've got to win," Hainsey said. "We don't have to win them all, but we've got to win a lot. We'll take them as we go."
Video: Nestrasil scores twice to lead Hurricanes over Jets