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Jets rally, beat Bruins in shootout

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- Evander Kane scored with 1:57 remaining in regulation to force overtime and rookie goaltender Michael Hutchinson beat the team that drafted him in the Winnipeg Jets' 2-1 shootout victory against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.

Kane's goal assured the Jets of one point, and Bryan Little scored in the tiebreaker. Hutchinson made 32 saves through overtime and denied all three Boston shooters.

Goaltender Chad Johnson made 36 saves for the Bruins. But Hutchinson, the Bruins' third-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, earned First-Star honors in his second NHL start.

"The players played as hard as they could to give [Hutchinson] a chance to be great and win, and that's what happened," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "He was great -- we win."

Brad Marchand scored midway through the first period for the Bruins, and Johnson made the lead stand up until Kane's goal tied the game.

The single point gave the Bruins (53-18-9) a League-best 115 points and moved them closer to the franchise's first Presidents' Trophy since the 1989-90 season. The Bruins hold a three-point lead on the Anaheim Ducks for the lead in the overall standings. Each team has two games remaining, with the Bruins hosting the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

The Jets (36-35-10) conclude their season Friday on the road against the Calgary Flames and will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, including each of the three seasons since they relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta. Maurice said that Hutchinson may start at Calgary.

Boston and Winnipeg brought altered lineups into the game. The Bruins rested defenseman Zdeno Chara, and center Patrice Bergeron was scratched with what Bruins coach Claude Julien termed "an undisclosed minor injury." Forward Chris Kelly (back) also did not play, but the Bruins added right wing Jarome Iginla and defenseman Kevan Miller to their lineup after each player sat out the past two games. Center David Krejci, who sat out a 4-3 road shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, also returned to the lineup.

"It shouldn't be an excuse for our team," Bruins forward Gregory Campbell said of the lineup. "We're a good team, and we're built to compete every night. Whether we have those two guys in the lineup or not, things are going to happen throughout the course of the season and if we lost them in the playoffs … It's something that we have to learn to deal with."

Nine Winnipeg regulars, including captain Andrew Ladd, sat out the game with injuries.

Hutchinson, who spent his first three pro seasons in the American Hockey League and ECHL as a Bruins prospect before signing with the Jets last summer, stopped several Boston opportunities, including Iginla's first-period breakaway and a one-timer by Iginla late in the second period. He also stopped Marchand's third-period backhanded chance to keep his team within a goal.

"Boston is one of the top teams in the League, and being able to play well against them goes a long for your confidence, knowing that you can play in this League," Hutchinson said. "When you make saves on a guy like [Iginla], that is just an added bonus."

Hutchinson will report to the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League for the Calder Cup Playoffs later this month. The 24-year-old met with Jets goaltending coach Wade Flaherty this week to review his depth play and on-ice spatial awareness, and the work paid off.

With his parents in attendance to see his first NHL win, Hutchinson also admitted that he relished taking two points from the team that drafted him.

"Getting your first game is definitely something special, but your first win kind of trumps that a little bit," Hutchinson said. "With it being against Boston, the team that kind of gave up on me, it just makes it even more sweet."

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