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Pavelec stops 39 shots to lead Jets past Canadiens, 5-2

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Ondrej Pavelec made 39 saves for his sixth consecutive win, leading the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Mark Scheifele and Jim Slater each had a goal and an assist and Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, and Adam Lowry also scored for the Jets.

Dustin Tokarski stopped 17 of 22 shots for the Canadiens, who were resting starter Carey Price. Andrei Markov and Brendan Gallagher scored for Montreal.

The victory opened a four-game homestand for the Jets, who still hold the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, three points ahead of idle Calgary. Winnipeg improved to 12-2-2 in its last 16 games at home.

Byfuglien, back on the ice after missing nine games with an upper-body injury, punctuated his return by scoring his 16th goal of the season with 7:27 left in the first period when his shot trickled under Tokarski’s pads.

Montreal had two power plays after penalties by Wheeler, but couldn’t get a goal past Pavelec.

The Canadiens outshot the Jets 20-5 in the opening period.

The teams combined for three goals in just over 3 minutes in the second, starting after two Canadiens collided into each other behind their net.

Jets defenseman Tyler Myers stole the puck, passed it to Scheifele out front and he flipped it over Tokarski at 6:05 for his 14th goal of the season to make it 2-0.

Markov’s shot from inside the blue line 41 seconds later beat Pavelec to cut the Canadiens’ deficit in half, but Slater had a rebound bounce off his skate past Tokarski at 9:13 and the Jets regained the two-goal cushion.

Wheeler scored his 24th goal of the season with one minute left in the period to extend the lead to 4-1. Drew Stafford had an assist on the goal, extending his career-high points streak to eight games (four goals, six assists).

Montreal increased its shots advantage 31-13 in the middle frame.

Gallagher, playing in his 200th NHL career game, made it 4-2 with 8:23 left in the third, but Lowry scored 45 seconds later.

NOTES: The Jets have beaten the Canadiens just once in the last five games at MTS Centre — on Dec. 22, 2011. … Winnipeg hosts Chicago on Sunday. … Montreal returns home for three games, starting with a matchup with Florida on Saturday.

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