Winnipeg, MB – Dustin Byfuglien scored the game-winner 1:23 into overtime as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3, on Thursday at MTS Centre.
Byfuglien initially trailed a 2-on-1 opportunity with Andrew Ladd and it paid off, as Ladd's shot deflected off Carolina netminder Justin Peters left pad and Byfuglien easily put the disc home for the win.
Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists for the Jets, who extended their season-best winning streak to five games. Zach Bogosian scored a goal and had one assist, while Paul Postma also lit the lamp in the victory, which kept Winnipeg tied with the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Jets also moved within two points of first-place Washington in the Southeast Division after the Capitals lost to Ottawa on Thursday.
"I guess you feel the pressure a little bit, but as professionals, you're just playing another game," said Bogosian. "I think you've got to get the two points and that's what we've done the last little bit here. But as far as how intense the games are and how close they've been, I guess that can roll over to somewhat of a playoff series."
Ladd supplied three assists for Winnipeg and now has four goals and 11 points during the team's winning streak. Ondrej Pavelec posted 24 saves on 27 shots in the victory.
Tuomo Ruutu scored twice, Alexander Semin added another goal and Jordan Staal had two assists for the Hurricanes, who have lost two straight. The team was also eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
Peters allowed all four Winnipeg goals on 31 shots in the setback.
"Well you know I've been saying it for a while, the way our guys have been playing we haven't got the breaks or the results that we honestly really deserve in our performance in the last, you know, three four weeks," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. "And so it���s unfortunate because I'm really proud of the guys the way they've been battling, playing hard, playing well, and you now when it does change they're going to get rewarded and it'll pay off somewhere along the line."
Bogosian's tally came at the 12:13 mark in the first as he poked a loose puck in front of the net through Peters' legs to make it 1-0.
In the second period, Postma scored a power-play goal 8:27 in with a wrister. Wheeler, though, set him up with a great pass through some traffic to make it 2-0 in favor of the Jets.
Ruutu put the visitors on the board shortly after as he skated to the slot put a wrister past Pavelec.
Wheeler made it 3-1 8:40 into the third period. He skated behind two defensemen and Bryan Little hit him with a near-perfect pass before wristing a shot glove-side for the tally.
Ruutu scored on a deflection goal just under four minutes later and Semin tied the contest at 3-3 with 1:12 remaining. With an extra attacker after pulling Peters, Semin waited in front of the net and grabbed Jiri Tlusty's rebound from the point to send the contest to overtime.
The Jets' last five-game home winning streak spanned Dec. 1 - 13, 2011 ... Little played in his 400th career NHL game ... Winnipeg last made the playoffs in 2007 when the team was based in Atlanta ... Carolina was without Jeff Skinner due to a rough hit he took in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to Ottawa ... The 'Canes have dropped five straight road tilts.