RALEIGH, N.C. -- The old hockey adage suggests the team that wins the special-teams battle usually wins the game. On a night with few quality scoring chances at even strength, that reasoning held true for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jordan Staal and Riley Nash each scored power-play goals and Eddie Lack made 19 saves to help the Hurricanes to a 2-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at PNC Arena on Tuesday.
The Hurricanes killed off 6:15 of shorthanded ice time, allowing one shot.
"Winning the special teams battle is always a good thing," Staal said. "You're definitely always in the game if you win it. The penalty kill did a good job and the power play had a couple big goals."
Video: WPG@CAR: Nash extends Hurricanes' lead in 2nd
Staal has arguanly been Carolina's best player for more than a month. He has six goals and 13 assists in the Hurricanes' past 17 games, along with a plus-13 rating. On Tuesday, he logged 4:32 on the power play, 2:57 shorthanded and 19:26 overall.
"He's playing very, very well," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "I don't know who's playing better in the League. He's playing valuable minutes, big minutes, and he's coming through."
Carolina (26-21-10) has won back-to-back games and is 10-3-3 in its past 16.
Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves in his second start since returning from a knee injury for Winnipeg (25-28-3).
The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead at 10:33 of the first period when Staal scored on a power play. He followed the rebound of an Elias Lindholm shot from the point, sending a fluttering backhand over Pavelec's glove and off his leg. Nash had an assist.
Video: WPG@CAR: Wheeler cuts Jets' deficit to one in 3rd
"I'm just focusing on making the playoffs and contributing as best I can to get wins," Staal said. "It's nice that they're going in."
Nash scored a power-play goal in the second. Pavelec got a piece of Noah Hanifin's initial shot, but when Tyler Myers couldn't clear the rebound, Nash reached to poke the puck past Pavelec at 10:20. The score came nine seconds before the expiration of Mathieu Perreault's high sticking penalty.
"I was just hoping to pick up some garbage, and that's what it was," Nash said. "Hanifin doesn't have the hardest shot, but he usually gets it through. It fell at his feet and I just tried to whack it. It was perfect timing. He tried to dive on it and it opened up the five-hole."
The Hurricanes outshot the Jets 22-8 through two periods, with Winnipeg getting four in each. Jets coach Paul Maurice was asked if his team responded to his message after the first 20 minutes.
Video: WPG@CAR: Lack snags puck on Scheifele's shot
"It didn't make a difference before the game either," Maurice said. "It's the same message."
Blake Wheeler cut the deficit in half when he screened Lack and redirected Jacob Trouba's shot from the point at 6:52 of the third period.
"It's a simple play, but it's something we were straying away from," Drew Stafford said. "It comes down to making sure we're executing with the puck, starting with our compete and our effort. Unfortunately, it was too late."
The Jets had a power play midway through the third, but Myers negated it 26 seconds into the man-advantage with a roughing penalty. Winnipeg pulled Pavelec for the extra attacker with less than two minutes remaining. Nikolaj Ehlers had a chance to tie the game with 1:12 left, but John-Michael Liles got a piece of Ehlers' backhand shot, sending it wide of the right post.
The Hurricanes got another steady performance from rookie defensemen Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin and Hanifin, all of whom made their NHL debuts this season.
Video: WPG@CAR: Lack keeps Jets from tying game in 3rd
"There's a lot of help on the defensive end from the older guys," Slavin said, giving credit to Liles and Ron Hainsey. "When our gaps are tight, we have an overall good game and they have nothing to work with. If shots are from the outside, they're not going to have many grade-A (chances)."
Peters agreed that the veterans have played a key role in easing the transition for the rookies.
"Our young guys are good players," Peters said. "And I give our older guys credit for bringing them along, accepting them and making them feel comfortable. Our young guys have been real comfortable ever since they came up (from Charlotte of the American Hockey League). They're very mature young players with bright futures."
Video: Staal, Nash score in Hurricanes' win over Jets