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Stafford helps Jets end losing streak, defeat Canucks

by Patrick Williams /

WINNIPEG -- Mark Scheifele and Drew Stafford each had two goals and an assist to help the Winnipeg Jets end a six-game losing streak with a 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks at MTS Centre on Wednesday

The Jets (9-9-2) won for the first time since Nov. 5 after returning home from a stretch of eight of nine games on the road.

"It put us back in a positive frame of mind coming home," Jets coach Paul Maurice said of the win to open their three-game homestand.

Maurice put Scheifele and Stafford on a new line with Mathieu Perreault, who had three assists. Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves.

Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks, who have lost four consecutive games (0-3-1) and went 1-4-2 on a season-high seven-game road trip.

"It's frustrating," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "But I think we got better as a team as the trip went on. It's going to be tough going home [Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks]; it's not going to be easier. We're going to have to regroup, and we're going to have to be ready to battle."

Scheifele scored on the power play to put Winnipeg ahead 1-0 at 5:55 of the first period. Sedin tied it with a power-play goal 6:44 into the second period.

Stafford's first goal in 12 games gave the Jets a 2-1 lead with 2:31 left in the second. Scheifele scored his second goal of the game and seventh of the season with 2:45 left in the third period before Stafford's empty-net goal with 1:34 to go finished the scoring.

"It's definitely a relief," said Stafford, who has seven goals. "There are ebbs and flows in this game. There are times when things aren't going to go your way. It's just the nature of the business. Stick with it and sooner or later things will turn around."

The Jets were 1-for-29 on the power play over the previous eight games before Scheifele's first-period goal. A loose puck bounced into the left circle, where he sent a snap shot on net before Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller could scramble into position. The goal ended Scheifele's six-game goal drought.

"I think [it helped]," Maurice said of the power-play goal. "They [were] feeling it."

With Winnipeg defenseman Toby Enstrom off for interference, Henrik Sedin worked the puck to Burrows at the edge of the Winnipeg net. Pavelec could not control Burrows' shot, and Daniel Sedin put the rebound past Pavelec at 6:44 for his seventh goal of the season and the 899th point of his NHL career.

After a slow start to the second period, the Jets put on a late push to retake the lead. Miller stopped Chris Thorburn's point-blank chance in the slot, but Stafford backhanded his own rebound over Miller's right blocker a little more than a minute later for his first goal since he scored two Oct. 25 against the Minnesota Wild.

"After we scored our tying goal, we had a lot of chances to get [ahead] in the game, but [Pavelec] made some great saves," Daniel Sedin said. "Then we turned the puck over, and they scored. That's the turning point right there."

Scheifele got his first two-goal game since Dec. 16, 2014, against the Buffalo Sabres with a backhanded shot at the edge of Miller's crease.

"To be at home and get a win, it was a big game for us," Scheifele said. "I thought we played a solid 60-minute game."

Though Scheifele and Stafford have not produced offensively during a rough start to November for the Jets, Maurice said that he has liked their play.

"Just getting one to go for [Scheifele helped]," Maurice said. "Mark has played well through this whole stretch. Really, I've liked his game. [Stafford] has handled the past 10 games about as well as you can ask a pro. It's good karma. He earned having [this] night."

The confidence issue has been a major talking point for the Jets, who need a strong homestand to mitigate some of the damage resulting from their just-completed 0-4-0 Central Division road trip.

"It was a good win for us," Pavelec said. "It has been kind of a long time, and it's great to get that feeling again.

"It's all about confidence. We've got the skill. We've got the players. We know we can play really well and know we can beat everybody, but it was just a matter of confidence. We didn't have that the past few games."

The Canucks head home for two games this weekend before starting a four-game road trip, and they are battling confidence issues as well.

"We keep saying we're close," said Miller, who made 30 saves. "We've got to make the turn here. It's not ideal mentally for this group to be really close [in] games. We've got to park it. We've got to find a way to keep coming with energy and believe it's going to turn. The only thing you can do in this situation is work hard and believe that hard work will translate."

Daniel Sedin found some positives with the road trip but admitted that the Canucks need results.

"I think we've got to turn it around now," he said. "We need some wins. But at the same time, I think we need to look at the big picture. We're playing better than we were before. That's a good sign. But right now we need a win."

Henrik Sedin concurred.

"I don't think you can question the way we battled, but our intensity has to go up, and our attention to detail needs to be there," he said. "It's a game of mistakes. We're still making a few too many to win the close games."

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