Showing no signs of a Christmas hangover, the Winnipeg Jets knocked off the Colorado Avalanche to win their first road game in a month.
Having not played a game away from the MTS Centre since December 10, and without a road win since November 25, the Jets played their most complete and best road game of the season in a 4-1 win over the Avs in Denver on Tuesday night.
Evander Kane scored two goals to lead the Jets scoring attack while Ondrej Pavelec stopped 32 shots for the win. The two goals were the first tallies for Kane in seven games while Pavelec notched his 13th victory of the year.
Already without forward Bryan Little, Winnipeg also played without the service of defenceman Dustin Byfuglien who was a late scratch prior to game-time, but even without one of their top forwards and their best best defenceman, the Jets played as close to a perfect road game as any team could hope to play.
A back-and-forth pace for much of the opening period, Kane opened the scoring at 16:37 of the first as he elected to to keep the puck on a 2 on 1 and rifled a shot over the glove of Colorado goalie Jean- Sebastien Gigure for his team-leading 16th goal of the season.
A Ryan O’Byrne holding penalty just 40 seconds into the second period led to a Tim Stapleton power-play goal to make it 2-0.
The Jets looked comfortable protecting their two goal lead but were helped along by some big saves from Pavelec and some persistent defending from the defense. They were able to extend the lead to three when Chris Thorburn spotted Kane out front of the Avalanche goal who proceeded to bang in his 17th past the helpless Giguere. The goal came seconds after Kane was sprung on a breakway but was denied by the Colorado netminder.
With a three goal lead heading into the third, Jim Slater quickly made sure to put any hopes of a Colorado comeback to bed by finishing off a nice rush by he and linemate Tanner Glass. The Avs were able to put one past Pavelec with just over five minutes remaining in the period but it would be far too late to prevent their defeat.
The win sets things up nicely for the club as they will return home for games against Los Angeles on Thursday and Toronto on Saturday to conclude 2011.