TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs felt they were one bounce away from winning back-to-back regulation contests for the first time in nearly 11 months.
However, it was the Jets who caught a lucky break as Bryan Little caught Alex Burmistrov stepping out of the penalty box late in the third period leading to the game-winning goal in Winnipeg's 4-2 victory over Toronto on Wednesday night.
"Obviously a bit of an unlucky break on that third goal with the guy coming out of the box," said Nazem Kadri, who had several chances to score his second goal of the season. "It's a tough one to swallow, but at the same time, a lot of positives."
With the game tied 2-2 and Burmistrov in the box for holding the stick late in the third, Maple Leafs forward Brad Boyes had an excellent chance in the slot that Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec got his glove on. Just before Toronto's power play expired, James van Riemsdyk also had a chance to bury the go-ahead goal, but Pavelec got his right pad on it.
Burmistrov completed a 2-on-1 feed from Blake Wheeler 17:55 for the game winner and Little added the empty netter with 26-seconds remaining as the Jets (8-5-1) improved to 8-0-1 when scoring three or more goals this season.
"We had a great look from Boyes right at the end on the power play, we had a great look from van Riemsdyk on the breakaway there ??? lots of good things happened for our hockey club," said Leafs head coach Mike Babcock. "We looked like a competitive organized group today. I'm disappointed with the outcome.
"I still thought with the group of players on the ice you've got to know what's going on on the clock. We could've been in a better situation there."
Entering Wednesday's contest Kadri was 10th in the league with 46 shots on goal. He had two in the loss including a grade-A chance in the second period.
With the Leafs trailing 2-1, Kadri picked up the bounce off of van Riemsdyk's shot and put the puck through the crease with Pavelec out of position.
"Feels unlucky," said Kadri. "Hitting knobs, (pucks) rolling on the goal line. I wish we could catch a break with the guy coming out of the box on the 2-on-1. I mean that's something that'd be definitely nice and favourable, but at the same time we've got to keep working right?
"Not much we can really do at this point. Just come to work and try to fix it."
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Leo Komarov had Toronto's (2-8-2) goals while Reimer made 30 saves in the loss.
"It's very unfortunate that we come out of this game with nothing to show for it. We played hard tonight; I thought we deserved a little better," said Parenteau. "A few bad bounces are tough to swallow."
The Leafs conclude their four-game home stand on Friday night when they play host to the Detroit Red Wings.