NEW YORK (AP) — The Winnipeg Jets are showing the Eastern Conference that they are a playoff threat and tough to beat on the road.
Now the former Atlanta Thrashers need to do the same thing back at home to make it stick.
Olli Jokinen scored twice and Evander Kane had a goal and assist in the second period for the surging Jets, who completed a dominant road trip with a 4-3 victory over the injury-riddled and slumping New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
Winnipeg went 0-3 at home before finding its stride and going 4-1 on its trip. The Jets’ spurt vaulted them past the Rangers, and Winnipeg (9-9-1) is in a three-way tie for eighth place in the East playoff race — one point ahead of 11th-place New York (8-8-2).
“The competition is really tight this year,” Jokinen said. “Every game is crucial, every point is crucial. We can be happy, and it’s a good feeling now in the room, and we want to keep this, but at the same time we can’t lose our focus.
“We’re not 10 games over .500, we’re .500.”
After a scoreless first period, Jokinen broke the deadlock 5:55 into the second off an assist from Kane, who then gave Winnipeg a 2-0 lead 1:07 later. Anthony Peluso also had two assists in the period.
Jokinen, who played briefly for the Rangers in the 2009-10 season, has scored three of his five goals this season in a three-game span.
Kane added his second of the game and ninth of the season in the third period — in between a pair of Rangers tallies — as three goals were scored in a span of 1:13 that brought New York within 4-3.
Kane has scored in four straight games and in five of six. He also has an eight-game point streak, notching six goals and four assists.
“I’ve been feeling good the last 10, 12 games,” Kane said. “The legs are there right now. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get readjusted when you’ve been off for so long, but I feel good.
“It was very important for us. After an 0-3 homestand we needed to respond in these five games on the road, and I thought we did a great job.”
Ondrej Pavelec, playing in his eighth straight game, made 30 saves for the win. Winnipeg now returns home to face New Jersey and Washington before another four-game trip.
Ryan Callahan cut New York’s deficit in half 2:26 after Kane’s first goal, but Jokinen struck again with 5:13 left in the second to give the Jets another two-goal advantage heading into the third.
Taylor Pyatt deflected in Anton Stralman’s shot to get the Rangers within 3-2 at 9:17 of the third, but Kane restored Winnipeg’s two-goal lead 20 seconds later.
That, too, was short-lived as Stralman scored his third of the season at 10:30.
Winnipeg held on from there to win and send New York to its fourth straight loss (0-3-1).
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist blamed himself for the fourth goal.
“Something I am going to think about for the next 24 hours,” said last season’s Vezina Trophy winner, who stopped 28 shots. “I’ve tried to find out a reason for why.
“It doesn’t matter. I need to stop it. For whatever reason, it squeezed through my pad and my glove. It’s a tough one. It really is.”
The Rangers had one more chance to get even, but couldn’t connect on a late power play. Callahan was also denied by Pavelec in the frantic closing moments.
Callahan’s goal snapped the Rangers’ shutout streak at 102 minutes, 53 seconds, dating to the third period of a loss at Ottawa on Thursday. New York was then shut out at Montreal on Saturday before returning for a four-game homestand that began Tuesday.
“With wins you gain confidence,” said Callahan, chosen as the game’s No. 2 star. “We were making plays and controlling the play for most of the game. I thought our confidence was coming. Obviously, it has been lacking the past couple of games. We’re not winning and not scoring enough, but tonight I thought it was coming.”
The Rangers have mustered 11 goals in six games, going 1-3-2, and have only six in the four games that star forward Rick Nash has missed because of suspected concussion symptoms.
New York was also without injured defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto, along with forward Arron Asham. Darroll Powe rejoined the lineup after missing three games because of a concussion.
Both teams had one power-play opportunity in the otherwise uneventful first period when Winnipeg held a 9-7 edge in shots.
Callahan provided a gutty effort in the second after his stick broke as he blocked a shot. The Rangers captain went on to block two more shots in a frantic sequence without a stick, swiped a puck away with his hand, and land a pair of body checks before he was able to get off the ice.
“I was just trying to block shots,” Callahan said. “It had nothing to do with trying to spark the team. It’s just the way we have to play, and that’s what you have to do to try to get wins.”
NOTES: The Rangers had been 18-3-2 in their previous 23 games against Southeast Division opponents. … The Jets lost all four games to the Rangers last season during the club’s first season back in Winnipeg. … The Jets are 3-5 at home this year. … Rangers defenseman Mark Staal assisted on Pyatt’s goal, giving him seven assists in the last 11 games.
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