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Little’s Late Goal Lifts Jets To 2-1 Win Over Wild

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Seven wins in their previous eight home games gave the Winnipeg Jets some confidence. Beating the league-leaging Minnesota Wild just added to it.

Bryan Little scored the tiebreaking goal with 5 minutes remaining and Ondrej Pavelec stopped 34 shots to help the Jets beat the Wild 2-1 Tuesday night.

“It’s a big win for us because it’s not easy to beat them,” said Pavelec, who got his 11th victory of the season. “We know we can beat those teams. They’re a really dangerous team. We beat Boston here, we beat Philly here, so they’re good teams, too.

“I think now we learn how to play against those teams and how to close the games.”

Zach Bogosian also scored for Winnipeg, which rebounded from a 7-1 loss at Detroit on Saturday night that snapped the Jets’ four-game winning streak.

“It feels great,” Little said. “That was a tough game for us and we wanted to bounce back after that and we did a great job of that tonight.”

Little’s 11th goal of the season came just as a Jets power play expired and extended his points streak to six games. He has five goals and four assists during that stretch.

“I think it gives us a lot of confidence,” Little said. “Lately we’ve been beating some really good teams and we’ve been playing real well in our home arena and kind of making this a tough rink to come play in.”

Guillaume Latendresse scored for Minnesota and Niklas Backstrom had 25 saves as the Wild snapped their seven-game winning streak overall and a seven-game road winning streak that is tops in the NHL this season.

Minnesota had a power play with 1:06 left to go in the third when Bogosian was called for boarding and a game misconduct, but couldn’t couldn’t get the puck past Pavelec.

The Wild dropped to 20-8-3 on the season in the finale of a five-game road trip, and their 43 points are still two ahead of Philadelphia, which beat Washington 5-1 on Tuesday.

Minnesota returns home to face Chicago on Wednesday night.

“We kind of strayed away from the little things that we do that makes us successful,” Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner said. “It’ll be good to try and come out tomorrow and redeem ourselves and play the kind of game we have been playing.”

Backstrom made a couple of key saves late in the scoreless first period before Minnesota took a 1-0 lead at 4:39 of the second on a two-man advantage. Latendresse took a rebound off Mikko Koivu’s shot and put the puck over Pavelec, who rolled on his back to try to make the save.

The assist extended Koivu’s points streak to five games. Dany Heatley, playing in his 700th NHL game, also assisted on the goal to extend his points streak to seven games.

The lead lasted less than four minutes as the Jets started swarming around Minnesota’s end. Bogosian scored his first of the season when he stopped a clearing attempt, put the puck down and fired a shot from just inside the blue line that beat Backstrom at 8:37.

The Jets had a goal waved off because of goaltender interference with 2:46 left in the period.

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler assisted on Little’s winning score, which came at the end of a slick passing play.

“It was a really nice goal,” Little said. “Wheeler made a great pass to Byfuglien and Byfuglien kind of, I think, had everyone thinking he was going to shoot and just slid it over to me back door.”

Notes: The Jets opened a six-game homestand, improving to 14-12-4 at MTS Centre. … Minnesota’s longest winning streak in franchise history is nine games, set in 2007.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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