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Jets outlast Senators in shootout

by Chris Stevenson

OTTAWA - Mathieu Perreault scored the only goal of a six-round shootout to give the Winnipeg Jets a 2-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. He did it with a stick he didn't know was broken until he picked the puck up at center ice for his attempt against Senators goaltender Craig Anderson.

Perreault scored on a wrist shot just over Anderson's right pad, extending the Jets' unbeaten streak in regulation to eight games (6-0-2). He said the shaft of his stick was cracked blocking a shot late in overtime.

"When I grabbed the puck I felt it right away, my stick was cracked, it was going to break. So that's why I just kind of came in and saucered it and lucky enough it went in … I knew that if I shot it hard, (the stick) would have just snapped, so I went in there and tried to put it in the corner," said Perreault, who is still looking for his first non-shootout goal of the season.

"I feel like I've been playing good hockey, I just can't find a way to put them in. If that can be a boost of confidence, I finally got a goal, even if it doesn't count for my stats … It was a big one for us."

Anderson and Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec continued their outstanding play in goal. Anderson boosted his League-leading save percentage to .951 with a 36-save performance. Pavelec made 37 saves through 65 minutes and is 5-0-2 in his past seven games.

Anderson said Perreault's off-speed approach was difficult to handle.

"When a guy comes in half-speed like that, it becomes non-game realistic," he said. "You're kind of stuck there, it's one of those things where he just kind of almost passed it into the net.

"It didn't look like he was shooting at all. Perfect location, right over the pad, just inside the post. I would have had to guess correctly to get that one."

Pavelec's play has been a key to the Jets' surge.

"[Anderson] has been great for Ottawa all season long and he was great again tonight," Pavelec said. "It was a battle. I think we battled hard, so hard to get through the overtime. We were ready to play the game. We had some chances. It could have been over a little bit earlier, but it's about the two points and we got them. Be happy and get out of here."

Pavelec faced the tougher chances down the stretch.

The Senators had a good opportunity to end it in regulation time during a tripping penalty to Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart with 5:18 to go, but faced with an opening to Pavelec's left, Ottawa forward David Legwand misfired and the puck went wide.

They had another in the second minute of overtime, but Pavelec made a pad save on a quick shot from the slot by Senators forward Mike Hoffman.

The Senators played without top-six forwards Bobby Ryan and Alex Chiasson. Ryan "took a whack," late in the game Thursday against the Minnesota Wild, MacLean said, and was a late scratch. Chiasson injured his foot when he blocked a shot against the Boston Bruins last Saturday.

Erik Condra took Ryan's spot with Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris. Colin Greening, a healthy scratch for the past five games, skated in Chiasson's spot on the right of centerMika Zibanejad and left wing Milan Michalek to start the game, but MacLean, looking for some offense, shook up his lines in the second period.

Each team had a first-period power-play goal.

The Senators opened the scoring at 11:48 after some confusion at the Winnipeg blue line. With Zibanejad cutting in onJacob Trouba, defense partnerMark Stuart cut in front of Trouba to check Zibanejad. That opened up a lane for Ottawa forward Chris Neil to jump into the area vacated by Stuart; Neil wound up with the puck and snapped it past Pavelec's glove for his second of the season.

It was the Senators' seventh power-play goal in seven home games this season. They had 16 at Canadian Tire Centre all last season, last in the League.

Winnipeg got even at 17:49. With Turris off for high sticking, Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom fired a shot that went through a crowd in front of the net, pinged off the post and into the net for his first goal.

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said he was pleased with the Jets effort in a tough part of the schedule.

"The thing we didn't talk about before the game is this was nine games in 16 days for us and five of them have gone into overtime … and we were dragging into town here," Maurice said. "I thought our goaltender was spectacular, especially late in the game when they had some pretty good chances and settled everything down."

Maurice, who took over last January, said there is still room for improvement in the Jets' play without the puck but that he cannot fault the effort.

"Eighty percent of the good things that are happening right now, maybe 90 percent, are still on compete," he said. "We still got lots of room to get better in our system when we don't have the puck. Our fight and compete, and that's leadership amongst the players, has been spectacular."

The Senators remained unbeaten at home in regulation (4-0-3).

"[Anderson] was unbelievable again for us," Neil said. "It's tough that we don't get two points out of that."

The Senators finish their four-game home stand against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. The game, originally scheduled for Oct. 22, was postponed after the shootings on Parliament Hill.

The Jets are off until they play at the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

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