July 04, 2014

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Ondrej Pavelec couldn't have asked for a better return to the ice after sitting out the last two games.

Pavelec made 41 saves as the Winnipeg Jets used a four-goal first period to beat the Nashville Predators 5-0 on Friday night.

It was Pavelec's 11th career shutout - first since March 12, 2012. He missed the last two games in favor of Al Montoya.

''I didn't play a few days so I felt a little bit nervous,'' Pavelec said. ''I just wanted to help the guys get the win. That was my goal today and so I'm happy we get the win.''

It was only Winnipeg's second win in its last six games, as Montoya backstopped the Jets to a 4-2 victory over Detroit on Monday and then a 4-1 loss in Chicago on Wednesday.

Bryan Little, Olli Jokinen and Eric Tangradi scored for Winnipeg in the first 8:23 of the opening period, followed by Devin Setoguchi making it 4-0 with 3:15 left in the first.

The first-period barrage was the most goals the Jets have scored in a period since March 1, 2012, when they had five against Florida.

Fans at the MTS Centre gave the Jets a standing ovation as they left the ice for the first intermission.

''I give a lot of credit to Pavelec,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ''I mean, to me, if we can get through that first period 3-0, I believe we have a chance to come back. Not saying we would've, but we have a chance to get back in the hockey game.

''I thought the killer goal in that game was the fourth goal.''

Little added his second goal of the game, and 10th of the season, midway through the third period to make it 5-0.

''I think we just kept it simple,'' said Little, who leads his team with 15 points. ''We came out really hard, which was great.''

Andrew Ladd, playing in his 550th NHL game, and Blake Wheeler each had two assists and Jokinen added one.

Jokinen wasn't over-excited about the victory.

''It's good we scored four goals in the first period, but it was far from a complete game,'' he said. ''The last 40 minutes was not the way we should play. We take two points and we can be happy, but there's no reason to plan the parade on Portage Avenue.''

Tangradi's slight redirection of Dustin Byfuglien's point shot sent goalie Carter Hutton to the bench in favor of Marek Mazanec at 8:23 of the first.

Mazanec, called up from Milwaukee of the AHL on Nov. 5 and playing in his first NHL game, turned aside 21 of the 23 shots he faced.

Hutton stopped five of the eight shots he faced.

Nashville is without veteran goalie Pekka Rinne, who was placed on injured reserve Oct. 24 with what's being reported as an E. coli infection in his hip.

When asked about the report, Trotz said he hasn't talked to Rinne about that.

''I know that the doctors are still working with him and he's on schedule,'' said Trotz.

That schedule was ''when he was supposed to return,'' which had been about six weeks.

Winnipeg's scoring began with an unexpected move by Little that earned him his team-leading ninth goal.

After picking up a rebound in the slot off a shot by Ladd, Little moved to the face-off circle with his back to Hutton, but then spun around and fired the puck past the goalie at 3:02.

Jokinen scored his third of the season with a close wrist shot at 6:47 off a pass by Evander Kane.

Byfuglien's blast from the point caught a bit of Tangradi as he was screening Hutton.

Mazanec entered the game and Setoguchi scored on his team's 11th shot of the night after Jokinen won the faceoff and passed the puck to his teammate in front of the net.

''He's a battler,'' Trotz said of Mazanec. ''He's a young man who has a lot of talent. Still has to learn to play goal. It was a good night for him to go in for us.''

Little's second goal couldn't miss as Mazenec was stretching back across the front of the net to follow the rebound off a shot by Ladd, but Little fired the puck over his body at 9:53 for the 5-0 gap.

Nashville was 0 for 4 on the power play and Winnipeg 0 for 3.

The fans gave the Jets another loud standing ovation during the final minute of the game.

''A night like tonight we'll take the 5-0 game, but it wasn't necessarily a clinic,'' Jets coach Claude Noel said. ''We've had enough heartache for a while, we'll take one of these.''

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