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23-19-2

Byfuglien scores in OT to lift Jets over 'Canes

AP - Sports
Byfuglien scores in OT to lift Jets over 'Canes
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Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien (33) celebrates winning goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime …

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) -- Dustin Byfuglien brings a lot more than size and strength to the Winnipeg Jets. The 6-foot-5 defenseman also has eight goals this season - and his latest was a big one.

Byfuglien scored at 1:23 of overtime to help the Jets continue their hunt for a playoff berth with a season-high fifth straight victory, 4-3 over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

Byfuglien beat Justin Peters off a rebound from a shot by Andrew Ladd, who finished with three assists for the Jets.

''Ladd was by himself and I just jumped up,'' said Byfuglien, who has 25 points this season. ''I think he shot it off that pad on purpose and I got the rebound.''

Alexander Semin tied it 3-3 with 1:12 left in regulation with Peters on the bench for an extra attacker, beating Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec on the glove side.

Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists, and Zach Bogosian and Paul Postma also scored for the Jets, who are ninth in the Eastern Conference but moved within two points of the Southeast Division-leading Washington Capitals.

Washington, which lost 3-1 to Ottawa, has 50 points. The Jets and New York Rangers are tied with 48, but the Rangers have played one fewer game and currently own the eighth and final playoff spot. New York beat Florida 6-1 on Thursday night.

Tuomo Ruutu scored a pair of goals and Jordan Staal had two assists for Carolina.

''I thought we had a really good push at the end,'' Ruutu said. ''It's too bad that we couldn't get the win tonight.''

The Jets, whose win streak is the team's longest since they relocated to Winnipeg before last season, host the New York Islanders on Saturday in another key matchup. The Islanders are in seventh place in the East, three points ahead of the Jets.

''The next two points are huge for us and we've just got to take it a game at a time,'' said Bogosian, who has six points in his last three games, including five assists. ''We can't worry about other teams or what streaks we have going on.''

Pavelec made 24 stops, including a spectacular one in the second period that sparked a standing ovation. Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk fired a wrist shot from close in but Pavelec whipped out his stick to get a piece of the puck before smothering it.

Peters finished with 27 saves, including a breakaway stop on Byfuglien in the second when Winnipeg was ahead 1-0.

It was Postma, though, who beat Peters with a high shot over his glove with three seconds left on a power play to make it 2-0 at 8:27 of the period.

Ruutu scored with a shot that rang off the inside of the post on Pavelec's stick side and zipped across and into the netting at 10:38 to make it 2-1 heading into the third.

Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller, coaching in his 100th NHL game, wasn't surprised his team fought back from a 3-1 deficit midway through the final period.

''That's the way our guys have been playing,'' he said. ''We haven't got the breaks or the results that we, to be honest, we really deserve in our performance in the last three, four weeks. So it's unfortunate because I'm really proud of the guys the way they've been battling, playing hard and playing well.

''When it does change, they're going to get rewarded and it will pay off somewhere along the line.''

Notes: Ladd extended his points streak to six games, tying a career high. He has four goals and eight assists in the streak. ... Jets C Bryan Little played his 400th NHL game and had one assist to stretch his points streak to five games (one goal, eight assists). ... Wheeler is also on a five-game points run with three goals and seven assists. ... Staal has six assists in his last six games.

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