ST. PAUL (AP) — Evander Kane had two goals in regulation and the winner in the fourth round of a shootout, lifting the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom stopped two of the first three shots he saw in the shootout, but he fell to 3-5 this season and 15-29 in his career in those situations. The Wild ended their streak of four regulation losses in a row, but they fell to 5-17-5 in their last 27 games.
Kane has four goals in five games for the Jets since returning from injury and 21 for the season. He upstaged Devin Setoguchi, who had his first two-goal game for the Wild, who scored on their first shot of each period.
Mikko Koivu gave the Wild the lead early in the third period, but Alexander Burmistrov scored on a rebound off an end-board ricochet for the Jets exactly 2 minutes later.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien logged heavy ice time again and had two assists, giving him six points in his last four games.
The Wild fell to 17-1-3 when scoring three or more goals. They’re 13-10-4 at home, the third-worst record in the NHL.
St. Paul is the closest NHL city to Winnipeg, and this revived regional rivalry is on track to become a meaningful one now that Manitoba has a team again. The Jets won a physical, tight game 2-1 north of the border Dec. 13, a game that coincidentally sent the Wild into this downward spiral they’ve yet to escape.
The “Go, Jets, go!” yell rang out before the faceoff from the thousands of Winnipeg fans in attendance. Wearing their red, white and blue garb — featuring logos of both the old team and the new one — they sang along with “O Canada” and cheered each Jets goal almost as loudly as the Wild fans applauded the home team. At one point in the increasingly tense third period, the Minnesotans fired up a “USA! USA!” chant.
The wide-open action on the ice down the stretch matched the intensity in the seats, too, particularly after Burmistrov tied it. Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck tried to fight Winnipeg’s Jim Slater at one point, but they were separated by the officials. So Darroll Powe of the Wild and Tanner Glass of the Jets dropped the gloves instead.
Earlier, the Wild’s Warren Peters tried to elbow the burly Byfuglien, who delivered a forearm shiver and knocked him back on the ice. Byfuglien, who has a 70-pound edge on Peters, was called for roughing. Peters got an unsportsmanlike conduct call.
Setoguchi has four goals in the last four games since his linemate Koivu came back from a shoulder injury.