Laine, Little score power-play goals, Jets top Canucks 4-1
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Dustin Byfuglien returned to the Winnipeg lineup and helped carry the Jets to a victory.
The defenseman had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury.
“I thought we put together a decent game,” said Byfuglien, who had his first goal of the season. “It’s nice to be back and we got our two points.”
Patrik Laine and Bryan Little scored power-play goals, and Andrew Copp also scored for Winnipeg (4-2-1).
Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for the Jets, playing the third game in a season-long six-game homestand (2-0-1).
Bo Horvat scored for the Canucks (4-3-0), who had their three-game winning streak halted.
Anders Nilsson stopped 28 shots for Vancouver, which finished its six-game road trip 3-3.
“We’ve got to take positives out of this (road trip),” Horvat said. “Obviously to go 3-3 — it would have been nice to go 4-2 — but I thought we played some good hockey on this road trip.
“I think we opened up a lot of eyes in our room and kind of created a culture for ourselves and have an identity to our team a little bit, where we’re going to be competing every single night and playing fast. So it’s all about consistency now throughout the lineup.”
Little broke a 1-1 tie at 4:58 of the third period with a backhand shot that beat Nilsson. He also picked up an assist.
Laine beat Nilsson with a one-timer late in the first period. Copp made it 3-1 with 7:14 left in the third and Byfuglien scored his first of the season at 14:43.
Winnipeg was coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to Edmonton on Tuesday. In that game, the Jets gave up a three-goal lead entering the third period.
“After that last game we were pretty hungry in the third period,” Little said. “It was our best period. Once we got that go-ahead goal it seemed like we turned it up even more. That’s what you need. That’s what we were looking to do.”
Winnipeg led 1-0 after the first period, and Vancouver tied it in the second.
Laine scored with 64 seconds remaining, taking a pass from Blake Wheeler across the front of the net and scoring past Nilsson on the stick side.
Horvat scored his fourth goal of the season on a great effort to get around Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba, hang on to a bouncing puck and shoot it past Hellebuyck at 12:54 of the second.
Vancouver continued a power play at the start of the third period, but wasn’t successful on its second man advantage in the game. Winnipeg was 2 for 2.
After giving his team the 2-1 lead at 4:58, Little hit the post. Copp then scored his first goal of the season when he banged in a bouncing puck in the crease at 12:45, and Byfuglien sealed it with 5:17 remaining.
Vancouver defenseman Troy Stecher said returning home with six points was good and the trip showed them one important thing.
“That we never quit, that’s for sure,” Stecher said. “I think we’re a group that’s going to have to win by committee. We’re learning how to win as a group.
“Everybody’s trying to play to the best of their ability, but some nights aren’t going to go the way you want.”
NOTES: Wheeler’s goal was his 500th point with the Jets franchise. It ranks second behind Ilya Kovalchuk during his time with the Atlanta Thrashers. ... After being outshot 7-1 six minutes in, Winnipeg ramped it up and had an 11-8 edge at the end of the opening period.
Winnipeg: Hosts Arizona on Saturday
Vancouver: Hosts Boston on Saturday.