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Jets score twice on power play, top Flyers in SO

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets combined a much-maligned tool and an old reliable one to continue their successful ways with a 3-2 shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

After a rare Winnipeg power-play goal late in the third period tied the game at 2-2 and an overtime in which the Flyers fired eight shots on goal, the Jets pulled out their third consecutive shootout win.

Bryan Little converted the deciding tally in the shootout's fifth round to give the Jets their season-high fourth straight win.

Winnipeg improved to 5-0-1 in shootouts.

"We'll take shootouts right now," Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd said. "Obviously, you'd like to win it in regulation, but I like the way we battled back and found a way to win. Knowing we can get back into games is huge."

The Jets went 2-for-4 on the power play and once again got strong goaltending from Ondrej Pavelec, who stopped 32 of 34 shots.

"For me, it was a matter of time before these things started seeing the back of the net," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "Eventually they were going to go. You just had to stay with it and not let too much frustration to get into your game."

Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien, who had one goal this season entering the game, scored to tie the game at 2-2 with 5:37 left in regulation, the second of his two goals on the man-advantage Friday night.

The Jets ranked last in the NHL on the power play heading into action Friday. They had gone 0-for-20 in a skid that stretched over parts of eight games and had scored just once in their past 47 chances.

"[Converting on the power play] gives us a little bit of confidence," Byfuglien said. "We knew that as long as we stuck with it, it was bound to get a couple of goals on it. We had traffic, we kept shooting and it got there."

The Flyers used first-period goals from Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds, spaced five minutes apart, to undo an early Winnipeg lead and carry a one-goal advantage for more than 42 minutes of play.

Byfuglien tied the game at 2-2 just 16 seconds into the Jets' fourth power play of the game with Flyers forward Steve Downie in the penalty box for hooking. Off the ensuing faceoff, Byfuglien took a pass from Olli Jokinen and ripped a left-point shot that climbed over Philadelphia goaltender Steve Mason's right glove.

Both teams had won three consecutive games. Philadelphia (7-10-2) was fresh off a 2-1 road win Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and had assembled a 6-3-1 mark that helped it dig its way out of a 1-7-0 start.

Philadelphia will begin a three-game homestand next week after finishing their three-game trip with a 2-0-1 record.

"Five out of six points I'd say is a pretty good trip," Hartnell said. "All in all, it was a good trip. We're doing better as a team, and we're playing the right way, and we've got to continue it [next] week at home."

Flyers coach Craig Berube cited improved team confidence as helping to drive Philadelphia's turnaround, but he wants to see still more from his players.

"I think [the players] believe they can win games," Berube said. "They play like it, but I still think we need to push more. We had the lead tonight in the third and we should have went and pushed more in the third period. Whether we sat back or whether we're tired, I don't know. I just think we can be more aggressive."

Winnipeg pulled off three straight home wins before going on the road for a 3-2 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

The Jets play four of their next five games at home before beginning a season-long six-game road trip through the Eastern Conference that will span nearly two weeks.

The teams combined for several quality chances in the first period, and both goaltenders faced early pressure, including a 6-0 Winnipeg run in shots to open the game. Philadelphia's run of strong goaltending this season continued with Mason, who shut out the Ottawa Senators 5-0 on the road Tuesday, returning in net against the Jets after a one-game break. Mason stopped 36 Winnipeg shots.

"It's disappointing just because we had the lead with six minutes left in the hockey game," Mason said, "and we weren't able to close it out. Losing and not getting that second point, that's the disappointing thing."

Pavelec started his fourth consecutive game in goal for the Jets after he had put together a shutout against the Nashville Predators, beaten the San Jose Sharks at home and then stopped 41 shots in Detroit on Tuesday.

"I think we played a solid game," Pavelec said. "We played a great third period, and we were down one goal, but we were patient and the power play helped us to get the win tonight. I think the third period was one of our best we played."

Pavelec kept the Jets in the game during a busy first period and especially during overtime.

"Pavelec's play has been superb," Noel said. "He has been really solid, really solid for us. He really gives us a chance."

The Jets used their power play to open an early 1-0 lead. Byfuglien took Devin Setoguchi's pass from inside the Philadelphia blue line to the top of the right circle and snapped a high shot past Mason at 5:36 for his second goal of the season. Winnipeg had not scored on the power play since Blake Wheeler's first-period goal in a 3-2 loss at the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 29.

But Hartnell got the equalizer 49 seconds later, scoring on a wraparound for his third goal of the season. Philadelphia used its own power play to go ahead 2-1 at 11:45 when Simmonds shoved the rebound of a Hartnell shot under Pavelec.

The teams played a scoreless second period. Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian exited the game late in the period with a lower-body injury and did not return, leaving Winnipeg with five defensemen to finish the game. Winnipeg is already missing injured defensemen Paul Postma, Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba.

Winnipeg's medical personnel will evaluate Bogosian on Saturday and determine whether he can accompany the Jets for their game at the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.

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