Jets stay hot with 2-1 win over Hurricanes
Updated On: Feb 04 2014 09:39:23 PM CST
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Chris Thorburn has never sniffed the playoffs seven full seasons into his NHL career, but he is starting to get the itch with the Winnipeg Jets quickly climbing the Western Conference standings under new coach Paul Maurice.
The right winger scored with 1:03 left and goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stopped 28 shots as the Jets won for the ninth time in their last 11 games under Maurice, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Tuesday night.
"I was a healthy scratch through my first year in the league, so I don't even have one playoff game under my belt," Thorburn said. "This is exciting for me personally, but as a team we haven't been to the playoffs on a consistent basis. We're not there yet, but we're making the right strides and we're building a solid game we can depend on night in and night out."
Thorburn, a fourth-line player, scored just his 36th goal in 516 career games but his second in three games as Winnipeg (28-25-5) played its 33rd one-goal game, tied for second most in the league. The Jets are now 16-12-5 in those games.
Defenseman Jacob Trouba broke open down the boards and circled behind the net before dumping the puck out in front where Thorburn was able to get a stick on it and beat red-hot Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin.
"We're going to keep riding this and try to keep getting better," said Thorburn, who scored his first game-winning goal since the 2008-09 season. "We were pressing even though they kind of had the momentum, but we felt like we were one shot away from taking the lead again. That's kind of the confidence the coaches have instilled in us over the last 2-3 weeks.
"It is definitely paying off. With winning comes more confidence. It's just working right now. There is a great vibe in the locker room."
Maurice returned to an arena where he coached hundreds of games for the Hurricanes, and while he didn't say much about it before the game, there was a feeling among the Jets to give added effort against Carolina.
"We all understand his past and what he meant to this organization," Thorburn said of Maurice. "We were playing for him as well as the two points. It worked out both ways."
Maurice said, "We all care about each other in there (the locker room), so I'm taking it. The part I find strange is being on the streets traveling around because I've been on the Beltline a 1,000 times and now you're on a bus instead of your own car. That's when you find out you're a visitor."
Carolina (25-21-9), coming off its second-best January in franchise history (20 points), lost for just the fifth time in 16 games.
Khudobin, who was named the first star of the month in January after posting 10 wins and 2.19 goals-against average, kept the Hurricanes in the game through two periods with several point-blank saves.
He finished with 26 saves and has not allowed more than three goals in any of his 18 appearances this season.
Former Carolina center Andrew Ladd scored his 13th goal with 7:03 left in the second period to break a scoreless deadlock, jumping on a rebound off a shot from right winger Michael Frolik, who broke in on a 2-on-1 after eluding defenseman Justin Faulk at the blue line with a chip off the boards.
It was Ladd's eighth goal and 16th point against his former team in 20 career games.
"It's always fun to score against your former team," said Ladd, who helped the Hurricanes win the 2006 Stanley Cup before being traded to Chicago for Tuomo Ruutu. "I get up for these games. You always have a little chip on your shoulder when you come back and play against a team that traded you away. As a player, you want to use that as motivation in the right way."
Carolina's power play, tied for 26th in the NHL, was off the mark again through two periods. The Hurricanes registered just one shot during six minutes of man-advantage time, which included 52 seconds of 5-on-3 less than two minutes after the Jets had taken the lead.
However, Carolina center Riley Nash tied the score at 1-1 less than three minutes into the third period when the puck squirted out of a scramble in front of the Jets net right to Nash, who rifled a low shot past Pavelec.
"We didn't give up much; two mistakes and it cost us two goals," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said.
NOTES: Carolina has just 26 first-period goals -- second lowest in the NHL. ... Winnipeg Fs Andrew Ladd (433) and Blake Wheeler (430) extended their consecutive games played streak. ... Carolina G Cam Ward dressed for the first time since Dec. 31 after a two-game conditioning stint in the minors. ... Jets coach Paul Maurice returned to face a franchise that he coached for 920 of his 1,095 career games. ... Jets LW Evander Kane sat out his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury -- his fourth separate stint missing time this season with an injury for a total of 15 games. ... D Ron Hainsey played 346 games for the Jets/Thrashers franchise before signing with the Hurricanes this season.
Distributed by Internet Broadcasting and The Sports Xchange. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.