NEW YORK (AP) The Winnipeg Jets came into Madison Square Garden in ill-humor. It was the New York Rangers who left their home arena in a foul mood.
''This is a league where you don't want to lose two games in a row whether it's home or on the road,'' said Michael Hutchinson after he made 40 saves and Brian Little scored twice to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
''We came out with a better mindset than against the Islanders (in Monday afternoon's 4-2 loss) and were a little more prepared.''
Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Stuart each added a goal for Winnipeg, which improved to 3-1-0. The victory ended a four-game road trip to begin the season for the Jets.
''Really big win for us,'' said Jets coach Paul Maurice. ''We battled very well, especially after a disappointing loss yesterday. I really liked our composure and our focuse against a playoff team.''
Despite being outshot 20-8 in the period, the Jets went into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead thanks to Little's short-handed goal at 18:49. Little, whose 52 points were third most on the Jets last season, one-timed a feed from Jacob Trouba.
His power play goal at 10:35 of the third period sealed the game for the Jets, who handed New York its first loss of the season.
''It's always big when you have a good special teams night,'' Little said. Winnipeg was 2 for 5 on the man advantage and killed all five New York power plays. ''Special teams is a big part of the game now. We really focus on that in practice and it's nice when it comes together.''
Following three straight wins to open the season, New York was uncharacteristically sloppy according to Ryan McDonagh.
''Our guys know we weren't where we wanted to be, where we needed to be,'' McDonagh said. ''Mentally we weren't sharp with the puck with our decision making. A lot of turnovers in the neutral zone, not making the right reads on when to go to the net, when to put the puck towards the net and you know we proved how important it is to be mentally shapr all the way through the game.''
Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves.
Mats Zuccarello scored New York's lone goal.
The Rangers actually led 1-0 when Zuccarello's third goal of the season opened the scoring 6:45 into the game. The sequence began with Rick Nash harassing Blake Wheeler into an offensive zone turnover. Nash dumped it to Derick Brassard, who quickly found an uncovered Zuccarello.
The advantage lasted for all of 46 seconds.
Ehlers tied the game 1-1 with a power play strike from above the right faceoff circle.
Stuart's empty netter at 17:56 ended the scoring.
New York outshot Winnipeg, 41-29.
''We had 41 shots so it's not that we didn't have some looks,'' Derek Stepan said. ''We'll have to make adjustments, we'll have to get some guys in front of the goaltender and find ways to score goals. I think our main focus now is obviously to get better as a team and that's something you always strive for.''
NOTES: Winnipeg scratched defensemen Paul Postma and Ben Chiarot, and right wing Anthony Peluso. New York scratched right wings Jesper Fast and Emerson Etem, and defenseman Dan Boyle. The only Ranger not to play in the first four games of the season is Etem, who was acquired in a draft day trade from Anaheim. ''I would say we're going to look for an opportunity to put him in the lineup,'' New York coach Alain Vigneault said during his pregame press conference. ''I'm not exactly sure when that's going to be.'' ... Vigneault noted defenseman Kevin Klein would get to play on New York's man advantage units. ''(He's) got a good shot, a heavy shot,'' Vigneault said, before joking, ''I'm not the smartest guy in the world.''... The Jets return home to Winnipeg for a six-game homestand.