Jets continue playoff push, host Hurricanes

Jets head coach Claude Noel noted that his club's previous game had a playoff atmosphere to it. If Winnipeg can finish the season strong they just might get to play in some actual postseason contests.

The Jets play host to the Carolina Hurricanes looking to wrap a perfect three- game homestand.

Winnipeg has won four of its past six games and picked up a huge 3-2 win over Washington on Friday. The victory left the Jets just two points behind the Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 11 games to go for both teams.

Andrew Ladd and Nik Antropov scored in Friday's win and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien had the game-winner midway through the third period. Ondrej Pavelec made 20 saves for Winnipeg, which improved to 23-10-4 at home this season.

"It was a heck of a game; it was very much all that it made out to be ... it was a playoff-style game," Noel said. "It would have been a sad game to lose. We had some good chances and held them off pretty good. It was everything we could do to win the game."

Winnipeg's playoff chances could get a boost tonight if Zach Bogosian can return from a five-game absence caused by a wrist ailment, though Eric Fehr is out with an upper-body issue.

The Hurricanes find themselves seven points behind the Capitals with 10 games to play and the club has won two straight for the first time since Feb. 13-17. They snapped a two-game slide with a shutout win over the Blues on Thursday, then recorded a 5-3 win over the Wild on Saturday night.

Drayson Bowman notched a career-high three points on two goals and an assist, while Tim Brent had the tie-breaking goal in the third period. Chad LaRose added an empty-net tally with 1:15 to play, putting Carolina in position to match its longest winning streak of the season. The 'Canes first won three straight back on Oct. 12-18.

Brian Boucher earned his first win of the season with a 23-save performance. Carolina's backup goaltender missed a large portion of the season with a lower-body injury and Saturday marked just his eighth appearance and sixth start.

"I thought we got better as a team as the game went on and made good on our chances," Boucher said.

Carolina did play without young forward Jeff Skinner, who serves the second of his two-game ban this evening for kicking St. Louis' Scott Nichol. Jaroslav Spacek is also out for tonight because of a lower-body issue, with Carolina expected to recall defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti from the minors.

The Hurricanes had lost their first three encounters this season against the Jets before a 2-1 home win on Jan. 23. Carolina has lost both of its trips to Winnipeg this season.