RALEIGH, N.C. – Chris Thorburn thinks one of the reasons the Winnipeg Jets have been successful under new coach Paul Maurice is that they’re playing together as a team.
Demonstrating that newfound sense of camaraderie, Jets players wanted to win Tuesday night’s game against Carolina in part because Maurice coached 920 games for the Hurricanes franchise.
“We all understand his past and what he meant to this organization as far as the Hurricanes,” Thorburn said. “We were playing for him as well as the two points.”
Winnipeg accomplished both goals when Thorburn scored the tiebreaker with 1:03 remaining to lift the Jets to a 2-1 win over the Hurricanes. It was Thorburn’s second goal of the season.
Andrew Ladd also scored for the Jets, who are 9-2-0 since Maurice took over as coach on Jan. 12.
Despite his players’ sentiments, Maurice said the game had no special significance for him.
“This isn’t my first tour through here, but we all care about each other in there, so I’m taking it,” he said.
Winnipeg took the lead when Jacob Trouba circled around the net and sent the puck across the crease to Thorburn, who knocked it past goalie Anton Khudobin.
“Great confidence in a young man to want to make the play that decides the game,” Maurice said of Trouba, the young defenceman who asserted himself on the game-winner. “Not sit back and not want to make a mistake—he wants the puck on his stick.”
Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves for the Jets.
Riley Nash scored for Carolina, and Khudobin made 25 saves.
The Hurricanes went 10-4-0 in January and had won five of six, but their offence sputtered in this tight-checking game.
“Two mistakes cost us two goals tonight,” coach Kirk Muller said. “But overall, I thought our guys played hard and competed and skated and did a lot of good things—just not the outcome we wanted.”
Winnipeg opened the scoring 12:57 into the second period when Michael Frolik skated past Carolina defenceman Justin Faulk on a rush down the left wing. Khudobin stopped Frolik’s shot, but Ladd batted the rebound into the net.
Ladd, who has seven points in his last six games, was a member of the Hurricanes when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006.
“It’s always fun to score against your former team,” Ladd said. “I get up for these games. You always have a little chip on your shoulder for a team that’s traded you away.”
The Jets got a boost when they killed off a 51-second two-man advantage for the Hurricanes late in the second period. Carolina’s John-Michael Liles hit the post with a slap shot during that stretch.
Carolina tied it at 1 early in the third period. After the Hurricanes skated into the zone, Drayson Bowman tried to control the puck in the slot. Bowman couldn’t get his stick on it, but the puck came to Nash, who snapped it past Pavelec.
NOTES: Carolina began the night having played the fewest games in the NHL. … Winnipeg entered having played 32 one-goal games this season, third-most in the league.