Hurricanes 3, Jets 1

Goaltender Justin Peters helped the Hurricanes put some pressure

on Winnipeg in the Southeast Division.

Peters stopped 34 shots Saturday as Carolina edged closer to the

Jets with a much-needed 3-1 win.

”Peters had a great game and gave us a chance to win,” said

Carolina coach Kirk Muller, as his team narrowed the division gap

to four points.

Alex Semin and Eric Staal each had a goal and an assist for the

Hurricanes (16-15-2), who snapped a seven-game winless streak.

Jussi Jokinen also scored for Carolina.

Olli Jokinen scored for the Jets (18-16-2), who came to life in

the second period only to have their momentum sapped by a string of

penalties.

Winnipeg coach Claude Noel had little to say after the game.

”No one’s more disappointed than us,” he said, noting they

still lead the Southeast Division.

”The division race is going to get played out (but) it’s not

what we had in mind.”

Peters, a third-stringer, is starting for Carolina because of

injuries.

First the Canes lost starter Cam Ward for what could be the

season to a ligament injury and they’re also playing without backup

Dan Ellis, after his leg was cut just over a week ago in a 4-1 loss

to the New Jersey Devils.

Peters, who had allowed four goals in each of his past two

starts, says he’s still learning.

”I approach every game the same, no matter what the

circumstances,” he said. ”I try to take the same approach every

game and give my best effort every night.”

Muller said the team wasn’t in desperation mode coming into

Winnipeg.

”Today was not a do or die,” said Muller, who said they came

in knowing there were 16 games still to play before the season

wraps.

”For us it was more, if we can be a good hockey team for 16

games that’s what we’re after.”

Staal said the win was very important to his team.

”We needed to catch this team and win this game,” he said,

adding that controlling faceoffs helped lock it down. Carolina won

61 percent of the faceoffs Saturday.

”Especially on the road, you want to make sure you’re starting

with the puck and if you’re strong in that area, you have a better

chance of making plays and we were good in that area tonight.”

The Jets were disappointed by their first loss this season to

Carolina.

”It was disappointing. It was a great opportunity for us to

push these guys in a pretty deep hole,” Blake Wheeler said.

He said they had their chances, but Peters stopped them.

”The second period it could have been 3-2, 4-2, 5-2, but their

goalie made some great saves.”

The Hurricanes scored their first goal barely over a minute into

the game when Semin snapped one in just a second after Winnipeg

goalie Ondrej Pavelec had blocked Staal’s wraparound attempt.

Jussi Jokinen’s wrister at 9:41, one second after the end of

Carolina’s first power play of the game, made it 2-0.

Winnipeg put on pressure and outshot the Hurricanes 11-7 for the

period, but the closest they came to getting past Peters was a goal

post.

Olli Jokinen put Winnipeg on the board at 1:26 of the second on

a neat backward pass from Evander Kane as he passed the Carolina

net.

But Winnipeg took four penalties, including three that

overlapped giving the Hurricanes a couple of brief 5-on-3

chances.

”In the second half of the second period we were in the box

pretty much the whole 10 minutes,” Olli Jokinen said.

Carolina regained its momentum in the third, with Staal snapping

one from the right faceoff circle past Pavelec’s glove just 28

seconds into the period.

”We’ve just got to get better in our zone next time,” said

Pavelec, who also gave Peters credit.

”They played as a team. He made some good saves. We had our

chances but couldn’t score.”

NOTES: The Jets won both their games in Carolina this season and

the Hurricanes get one more crack to even the series April 18 when

they play their last game in Winnipeg this season. The Jets head

back out on the road to play the Rangers and Islanders Monday and

Tuesday and Montreal on Thursday.