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Two late goals give Jets win against Maple Leafs

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- Alexander Burmistrov's second goal of the season broke a third-period tie and helped the Winnipeg Jets defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.

Burmistrov stepped out of the penalty box after serving a holding the stick penalty and found himself on a 2-on-1 with Blake Wheeler. They made two passes before Burmistrov finished the play by slipping the puck past Toronto goalie James Reimer with 2:05 remaining.

The Jets (7-4-1) are 5-2-0 on the road; the Maple Leafs (2-8-2) are 1-4-1 at home.

Burmistrov played three seasons in the NHL before playing the past two with Kazan Ak-Bars of the Kontinental Hockey League. The 24-year-old said he was getting frustrated with his lack of goal-scoring and was relieved to see the puck go into the net.

"Oh, I can't even explain how big this goal is for me," Burmistrov said. "It has been tough for me since I came back. It is a great feeling now for us to win the game and for me to score that big goal."

Burmistrov said he was concerned he had put the Jets in a hole when he took the penalty, his second of the game, at 15:47 with the score tied 2-2.

"When you sit in the box, the first thing you are hoping is that we're not going to give up a goal; you hope time will run out," Burmistrov said. "Then you also hope when time runs out someone on our team will have the puck and give it to me for a breakaway."

Wheeler, who had two assists and leads the Jets with 16 points, made it perfectly clear he wanted the puck from Burmistrov, who had taken a pass from Bryan Little to create the 2-on-1. Burmistrov dropped the puck to Wheeler and skated toward the net, where he took a return pass for the goal.

"I think everyone in the building knew I wanted that puck," Wheeler said. "I might have woke my kid up in Winnipeg, I slapped my stick on the ice pretty hard. I saw the opportunity for a 2-on-1 and I just wanted to be involved."

Dustin Byfuglien gave the Jets a 1-0 lead at 3:41 of the first period when he took a pass from Mathieu Perreault, who was behind the net, and snapped a perfectly placed shot between the post and Reimer. It was Byfuglien's third goal of the season.

The Maple Leafs tied it 1-1 at 8:22 when PA Parenteau scored his second of the season. Tyler Bozak took a shot that was deflected wide but right onto the stick of Parenteau, who swept it past Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

The Jets had a 2-1 lead 37 seconds later after Mark Scheifele took advantage of Reimer being down to snap a shot into the open net for his fifth of the season.

Toronto tied it 2-2 at 12:17 of the second period on a delayed penalty. Maple Leafs defenseman Roman Polak drove to the net with the puck and at the last second slipped a pass to Leo Komarov, who redirected it past Pavelec for his fifth of the season.

Toronto had a good chance to grab the lead at 14:14 of the third period when James van Riemsdyk broke in alone, but Pavelec made a save and then turned back the rebound.

Bryan Little scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal with 26 seconds remaining, his sixth of the season.

Toronto coach Mike Babcock said he was pleased with the effort but disappointed the Maple Leafs had nothing to show for it. He said they generated enough chances late in the game to produce a better result.

"I liked our looks," Babcock said. "We had a great look from Brad Boyes late in the game on the power play, and James van Riemsdyk had a great look on a breakaway. Lots of good things happened for our hockey club. We looked like a competitive, organized group today. I'm disappointed with the outcome."

Wheeler said the Jets wanted to redeem themselves after a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

"We're a team with a lot of size and a lot of speed," he said. "I thought it was really important how we approached the game. We knew it was going to be a difficult game. We didn't come in here looking at their record and thinking about seeing how many goals we can get and how fast. We knew it would be a grind all night."

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