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Jokinen leads Jets past Rangers

by Tal Pinchevsky

NEW YORK -- Olli Jokinen scored twice, including the game-winning goal, and John Albert scored on his first NHL shot to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

Devin Setoguchi and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Jets and Ondrej Pavelec made 35 saves.

Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Callahan scored for New York. Cam Talbot stopped 25 of 29 shots; he had allowed two or fewer goals in his first seven starts.

Entering the game with a single assist in his previous five games, Jokinen was in the right place at the right time. With the teams deadlocked 2-2 late in the third, Jokinen was the beneficiary of a bounce when Setoguchi' s pass in the right corner deflected off Chris Thorburn and skipped into the slot right to Jokinen, who beat Talbot glove side to give the Jets a 3-2 lead with 7:18 remaining in regulation.

"Sometimes you get the bounces. I wasn't expecting it at all. I was just trying to be third guy high," Jokinen said. "Somehow the puck came to me and I was able to put it in. It was a lucky bounce, that's for sure."

Jokinen's contribution on Winnipeg's first goal had nothing to do with luck.

Trailing 1-0 in the second, Jokinen took a pass from Setoguchi, pivoted and sent the puck back to a trailing Setoguchi, whose shot beat Talbot between the legs to tie the game with 11:44 remaining in the second. The goal was Setoguchi's seventh of the season and his third in four games.

"He [Setoguchi] made a great play to pass the puck to me," Jokinen said. "Before I even got it, I knew that he's a right-handed shot. If I'm able to get him a quick pass back he's going to be able to get a shot."

The goal allowed Winnipeg to pull even after an error by defenseman Keaton Ellerby led to the opening goal 2:49 into the game. Ellerby's cross-ice clearing attempt bounced directly to Ryan McDonagh, whose slap shot was tipped by Zuccarello between Pavelec's legs for his fourth of the season.

Playing in his first NHL game, Albert gave the Jets their first chance to even the score when he drew a tripping penalty on Derick Brassard behind his own net with 8:39 remaining in the first period. Winnipeg fired one shot on the ensuing power play and finished the game 0-for-2 on the man advantage, marking the fifth straight game in which the Jets failed to score on the power play.

Drawing the penalty was just a prelude to Albert's storybook evening. The speedy forward, who was called up from St. John's of the American Hockey League on Sunday, gave Winnipeg the lead 1:44 after Setoguchi's tying goal. Dustin Byfuglien stole a pass from Brassard and fed Albert, who outraced McDonagh toward the net and wired a shot past Talbot for his first NHL goal.

"I think I chicken-winged him [Talbot] a little. He got right under there. But I went top blocker and it went in," Albert said. "I'm just going to give it back to my parents quick before we get out of here and they'll take it home for me."

Despite the two unanswered goals from Winnipeg, New York took the majority of the shots in the second, outshooting the Jets 14-6 in the final 12:46 of the period. That aggressiveness paid off with 4:10 remaining, when Brad Richards' shot from in close sneaked past Pavelec and trickled toward the goal line. Jacob Trouba cleared the puck away, but it bounced around the crease before Callahan pounced and tied the game, 2-2, with his seventh of the season.

New York had a great chance to take the lead when Chris Kreider sent Derek Stepan in alone on Pavelec. Stepan was hooked by Tobias Enstrom with 9:14 remaining in the period just as he fired a shot that Pavelec stopped with his right pad. The crowd called for a penalty shot on the play, but none was awarded.

"Good teams fight through that and play through that and find a way to get it done," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We gave them opportunities, we gave them odd-man rushes, we turned the puck over. We gave them momentum and from there they got some life. We tied it up, but in the third we made the same mistakes we made at the beginning of the second and it cost us."

Those mistakes were evident on Jokinen's second goal. With all three New York forwards pinching deep, the Jets counter-attacked with plenty of open ice. As Michael Frolik carried the puck across the blue line, defenseman Anton Stralman was forced to close in on the Frolik, who found Jokinen in the slot. His shot squeaked through Talbot with 1:54 remaining to give him his third point of the night.

"On the fourth goal, we knew they were going off so we were able to counter," Jokinen said.

The four goals equaled Talbot's total from his previous four starts combined. It was a disappointing evening for the rookie, who was making consecutive starts for the first time in his career.

"Obviously four goals is not going to cut it," Talbot said. "I can't expect the guys to score five goals for me every night, so I've got to do a better job of eliminating their opportunities."

Wheeler scored an empty-net goal with 51 seconds left in regulation.

The win helped Winnipeg move up in the Central Division standings ahead of the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators, who both have games in hand. It also gave them a 3-1-0 record on their six-game road trip that continues Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

"The road trip has been good so far. We knew this was a game that could go either way," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "We were patient with it and it ended up turning our way as the game went on."


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