TORONTO (AP) Sitting in the penalty box for the second time, Alexander Burmistrov worried that he had cost the Winnipeg Jets the game. He hoped he’d have the chance to make up for his mistake.
Eight seconds after he stepped back onto the ice, Burmistrov did just that, scoring the tiebreaking goal late in the third period as the Jets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 Wednesday night.
”That’s a perfect example of the dog house to the penthouse,” coach Paul Maurice said. ”That is classic. Those are tough penalties to take. It’s a big goal for him because he’s wanted to produce.”
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It was a good bounce-back effort from the Jets, who vowed to respond after getting embarrassed in a 5-1 loss at Montreal on Sunday.
Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Scheifele also scored and Bryan Little added an empty-netter in the final minute for Winnipeg. Toby Enstrom and Mathieu Perrault had assists on each of the first two goals, and Blake Wheeler on the last two. Ondrej Pavelec finished with 24 saves.
The Leafs, who lost for the 10th time in 12 games this season (2-8-2), led in shots and sustained offensive-zone time for the first two periods, but Winnipeg turned up the pressure in the third.
”We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty,” Wheeler said. ”It wasn’t going to be one of those games where you feel great about it after the game, but it’s just whatever it takes to get a win. I was proud of the way we responded like that.”
P.A. Parenteau and Leo Komarov scored for Toronto, and James Reimer had 30 saves.
”Lots of good things happened for our hockey club,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. ”I liked our group tonight. We were competitive, we looked organized.”
A defensive miscue by the Leafs allowed the Jets to get on the board 3:41 in as a wide-open Perreault found Byfuglien, who drove the net and scored his third goal of the season.
Byfuglien was playing after being cleared by the NHL earlier in the day following a hearing for a hit on Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher in Sunday’s loss.
Toronto tied the score on the power play at 8:22 when a shot attempt by Tyler Bozak deflected off Jets defender Mark Stuart’s stick and right to Parenteau at the side of the net.
The Jets took the lead back 37 seconds later. With the Leafs unable to get the puck in their own zone, Winnipeg played tic-tac-toe as Scheifele went top shelf over Reimer.
The lead lasted until 7:43 left in the second period when, on a delayed penalty, Roman Polak carried the puck to the crease and sent a centering pass in front that banked in off Komarov’s skate.
Winnipeg clamped down after that, and Pavelec sensed his team was better-prepared than on Sunday.
”I think we were ready to play from the start,” Pavelec said. ”I think the effort was way better, and I think we deserve two points.”
Maurice felt Burmistrov deserved a goal the way he had been excelling in a more defensive role since returning to the Jets after a year in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. Burmistrov’s confidence had sagged early in this season, and he had perhaps found a new low in the final minutes hoping his teammates could kill off his penalty.
The relief was clear on his face when he scored off a give-and-go with Wheeler with 2:05 left.
”Oh, I can’t even explain how big it is for me,” Burmistrov said. ”It’s been tough for me since I came back, learning this game back. Just a great feeling right now, we win the game and we scored that big goal.”
Little added his empty-netter with 26 seconds left.
”Got to give them credit, they were coming, but we had our looks, we had our power plays,” Toronto center Nazem Kadri said. ”It was a 2-2 game and then bad break, guy coming out of the box, he gets it right on his tape, that’s a tough one to swallow.”
NOTES: The Jets placed C Andrew Copp on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and recalled C Patrice Cormier, who was scratched. … G Antoine Bibeau backed up Reimer as Jonathan Bernier is out with a lower-body injury. … Canadian speedskaters Marianne St-Gelais, Patrick Duffy and Charles Hamelin were in attendance to promote an upcoming World Cup event in Toronto.