ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Evander Kane had two goals in regulation and the winner in the fourth round of a shootout, lifting the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom stopped two of the first three shots he saw in the shootout, but he fell to 3-5 this season and 15-29 in his career in those situations. The Wild ended their streak of four regulation losses in a row, but they fell to 5-17-5 in their last 27 games.
Kane has four goals in five games for the Jets since returning from injury and 21 for the season. He upstaged Devin Setoguchi, who had his first two-goal game for the Wild, who scored on their first shot of each period.
Mikko Koivu gave the Wild the lead early in the third period, but Alexander Burmistrov scored on a rebound off an end-board ricochet for the Jets exactly 2 minutes later.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien logged heavy ice time again and had two assists, giving him six points in his last four games.
The Wild fell to 17-1-3 when scoring three or more goals. They’re 13-10-4 at home, the third-worst record in the NHL.
St. Paul is the closest NHL city to Winnipeg, and this revived regional rivalry is on track to become a meaningful one now that Manitoba has a team again. The Jets won a physical, tight game 2-1 north of the border Dec. 13, a game that coincidentally sent the Wild into this downward spiral they’ve yet to escape.
The “Go, Jets, go!” yell rang out before the faceoff from the thousands of Winnipeg fans in attendance. Wearing their red, white and blue garb — featuring logos of both the old team and the new one — they sang along with “O Canada” and cheered each Jets goal almost as loudly as the Wild fans applauded the home team. At one point in the increasingly tense third period, the Minnesotans fired up a “USA! USA!” chant.
The wide-open action on the ice down the stretch matched the intensity in the seats, too, particularly after Burmistrov tied it. Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck tried to fight Winnipeg’s Jim Slater at one point, but they were separated by the officials. So Darroll Powe of the Wild and Tanner Glass of the Jets dropped the gloves instead.
Earlier, the Wild’s Warren Peters tried to elbow the burly Byfuglien, who delivered a forearm shiver and knocked him back on the ice. Byfuglien, who has a 70-pound edge on Peters, was called for roughing. Peters got an unsportsmanlike conduct call.
Setoguchi has four goals in the last four games since his linemate Koivu came back from a shoulder injury. When Burmistrov tripped at the Wild blue line, Dany Heatley snagged the puck to start a 3-on-1. He fed Koivu, who snapped a perfect pass across the slot to Setoguchi, who knocked Heatley over as they both went for the puck. Setoguchi’s stick got there first to give the Wild the game’s first goal.
The Wild fell to 10-9-5 when scoring first, the worst such record in the NHL.
Kane answered off a pass from Blake Wheeler with 1:13 left in the opening frame, the third time on this four-game homestand the Wild gave up a goal with 75 seconds or less remaining in a period.
Then, early in the second, Backstrom made a costly mistake when he came out to try to play the puck. Kane beat Jared Spurgeon and chipped it past the Wild goalie for a 2-1 Jets lead. The scrolling advertisement on the digital ribbon board around the arena was showing a plug for TravelManitoba.com at the moment.
The Wild had only six shots on goal more than halfway into the game, but after Tim Stapleton’s high-sticking foul Setoguchi snapped a shot past Jets goalie Chris Mason’s glove for the tie.
NOTES: Jets D Zach Bogosian was scratched. He hit Wild F Pierre-Marc Bouchard from behind in the last meeting, a collision with the boards that reignited Bouchard’s concussion symptoms. He is out indefinitely, after coming back for eight games before feeling bad again. Wild F Guillaume Latendresse scored the Wild’s only goal in that previous game, and he’s also on IR with a concussion. … After missing the last game with a bruised thigh muscle, Clutterbuck returned to the Wild lineup. But D Marek Zidlicky, still without a goal in 39 games played this season, was again a healthy scratch. Wild coach Mike Yeo said before the game he didn’t believe Zidlicky, who has asked to be traded, would be focused enough to play well. … The last time Winnipeg played a regular-season game in Minnesota was actually after the North Stars moved to Dallas. They played Ottawa in a neutral-site game at Target Center, the basketball arena across the river in Minneapolis. … Byfuglien (Roseau), Wheeler (Plymouth) and Brad Stuart (Rochester) are the three Minnesotans on the Jets’ roster. … Koivu scored his first goal since Dec. 29. He missed eight games and played in nine without scoring since then.