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Setoguchi's late goal lifts Jets past Canucks

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- The Vancouver Canucks ran out of comebacks in their first visit to Winnipeg since 1996.

Devin Setoguchi scored his second goal of the game with 2:56 remaining in regulation and gave the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 victory against the Canucks, who were making their first appearance at MTS Centre since the former Atlanta Thrashers relocated here in 2011. They had not played in Winnipeg since the first edition of the Jets moved to Phoenix after the 1995-96 season.

Setoguchi fired a shot from the right side past goaltender Eddie Lack during a delayed penalty for his 10th of the season. He came into the game with one goal in his previous 25 games. Setoguchi's penalty Tuesday night also helped set up a 4-3 loss against the Nashville Predators, and he has found himself on the Jets' third line for several weeks.

"I'm happy for [Setoguchi]," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "It's been a tough stretch of games and I always want to have those players have an opportunity to respond for their teammates."

Setoguchi has appreciated Maurice's support.

"It's tough," Setoguchi said. "Mentally it's draining. Every day, there's something where you've got to try and find a way to stay motivated. I contribute a lot of that to [Maurice]. I've had some talks with him during the past couple days. He has kept me on the positive side and kept putting me out there. He showed a lot of faith in me and kept me going on the right path."

The Canucks (27-20-9) had overcome 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, finally tying the game on a goal by defenseman Jason Garrison at 11:50 of the third period. They pressured Winnipeg heavily throughout the third period but left the ice with their third consecutive loss.

"I thought we had all the momentum in the third period," acting coach Mike Sullivan said. "We [shot] ourselves in the foot. I give our guys credit for fighting back, but we've got to find a way win that game."

The Canucks own the second of the two wild-card playoff berths in the Western Conference with 63 points, three ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes, who have two games in hand.

Vancouver began a five-game trip with two major losses on their blue line in Kevin Bieksa (foot) and Christopher Tanev (hand). In addition, captain Henrik Sedin (ribs), who missed his sixth consecutive game. Defenseman Yannick Weber left the game with an injury in the first period after playing 3:25. Weber's status was not immediately known.

The Jets (26-25-5), now 7-2-0 with Maurice after he replaced Claude Noel on Jan. 12, are one of those four teams pursuing Vancouver and pulled within six points of the Canucks. A four-game road trip that begins Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens will take them into the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Alexander Edler's fourth goal and Ryan Kesler's team-leading 19th got the Canucks even after they fell behind 2-0. Kesler also had up two assists. Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian scored his third goal of the season, and Michael Frolik added his 11th. Jets captain Andrew Ladd had two assists.

"They did a good job of getting back in the game, but I liked the fact that we stayed with it," Ladd said. "There's a confidence now that with our offense that we can push it at times and create chances when goals are needed."

Lack, who played his first season in North America in 2010-11 as a Winnipeg farmhand with the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose, started for the Canucks and made 31 saves. Ondrej Pavelec made his 10th start in the Jets' past 11 games and stopped 23 shots.

"He gave us a chance to win," Sullivan said of Lack, who had seen 28 shots by the end of the second period. "He played extremely well for us. He's a competitor. He's been there for us every time he has been in the net. [Friday] was no different."

The Jets used two goals in a 1:05 span early in the first period to put Vancouver in a quick hole. Bogosian ripped a left-point shot past Lack at 5:02. Setoguchi's backhanded tip at 6:07 made it 2-0.

However, the Canucks' 29th-ranked power play went to work after Winnipeg's Chris Thorburn took an offensive-zone holding penalty. Eight seconds into Thorburn's minor, Edler snuck into a scramble in front of the Winnipeg net and jabbed a loose puck past Pavelec's right pad at 10:27.

Kesler tied the game at 4:48 of the second period on the Canucks' ninth shot of the game, stepping into the slot and backhanding a rising shot that fluttered past Pavelec's glove. Frolik restored the Jets' one-goal advantage 1:53 later when he one-timed Ladd's behind-the-net feed into the slot past Lack at 6:41.

"We were resilient," Kesler said. "We need to find a way to win. It's a tough one. I don't like to lose. Nobody in here likes to lose. It's getting really old."

Did the Canucks deserve a better fate?

"Yes and no," Kesler said. "We battled back, and then [we] gave up goals right away. Then [we] give up late goals. We need to figure that out. We played well enough to get a point; we didn't play well enough to get two."

Coach John Tortorella will return from his six-game, 15-day suspension in time for the Canucks' game Monday against the Detroit Red Wings.

"We've got to make sure that we control our attitude and make sure that we have to be a resilient group," Sullivan said. "We have to have a short memory and we've got to fight our way out of it. The only people that we can look to for solutions are inside the room."

For Maurice, the learning process continues. The veteran of 1,093 games behind NHL benches has provided a measured and calm tone for a young team that was prone to breakdowns and erratic play before his arrival.

"I'm not coming to the rink at any point in time thinking that if we play our game, it should be pretty smooth," he said. "It's not, and you have to accept that, and that's where your resiliency comes from.

"So when they score one, it's not the end of the world. There are going to be parts of the game that [opponents] control, and we've got to manage that better and we're just going to keep working at it and working at it."

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