WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Center Olli Jokinen's shootout goal lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.
Jets right winger Devin Setoguchi and Coyotes center Antoine Vermette traded goals in the shootout before Jokinen deked goalie Mike Smith for the eventual winner. Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec stopped center Mike Ribeiro on the final shot to give his club the extra point.
Winnipeg upped its record to 28-26-7 and Phoenix is now 27-21-11.
Pavelec made two huge saves on Phoenix right winger Radim Vrbata and another on blue-liner Keith Yandle in overtime to give the Jets a chance. He finished the night with 34 saves.
Phoenix center Martin Hanzal whacked in his 15th goal of the year at 6:40 of the third period to knot the score at 2 while the Jets were a man short.
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for the Coyotes.
Winnipeg forwards Blake Wheeler and center Bryan Little both beat Smith, who finished with 27 saves.
Back to business after three weeks off for the Olympic break, the clubs traded goals in a rather slow and slopping first period that looked a whole lot like preseason play. Ironically, it was two Olympians who provided the offense.
The Coyotes struck first at 12:17 when Ekman-Larsson's bullet drive from the point glanced off the crossbar and found the mesh behind Pavelec for his ninth goal of the season.
Just under two minutes later, Wheeler raced down the left side and cut to the net but could not beat Smith. Undeterred, the lanky Jets right winger chased the puck to the far corner, turned and fired his 26th goal of the year from a bad angle, catching the Phoenix goalie by surprise.
Ekman-Larsson won a silver medal with Sweden and Wheeler played sparingly for a United States squad that failed to medal in Sochi.
The first period ended strangely when Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien picked teammate Mark Scheifele's stick off the pick and tossed it to him. The rookie center was give a minor penalty for 'illegal equipment' even though Rule 10.3 of the NHL rulebook indicates Byfuglien should have served two minutes for completing the rather amusing pass.
While the first 20 minutes were a muddled mess, the next 20 were worse. With no real scoring chances and relatively few hits, the usually boisterous fans at MTS Centre were a quiet bunch until late in the period.
Little benefited from a particularly ugly play at 18:01 with the Jets on the power play, scoring his 19th goal of the year when he suddenly found himself alone with the puck in front of Smith after gobbling up a pass by Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek, faking once and then going top shelf.
Winnipeg center Jim Slater took a hooking penalty early in the third period and the Coyotes made him pay as Hanzal knocked in a rebound for the tying goal.
NOTES: The Paul Maurice era of the Jets began with a game against the Coyotes on Jan. 13. Winnipeg whipped the visitors 5-1 that day to begin a solid run (9-3-1) under their new coach before the Olympic break. ... Coyotes C Antoine Vermette had a 10-game point streak (8 goals-5 assists-13 points) snapped. It was the club's longest since D Keith Yandle's 10-game streak in January 2011. ... Jets C Olli Jokinen represented Finland at the Olympics and helped his native country capture a bronze medal. The medal was the third of his career, after winning silver in 2006 and bronze in 2010. ... Three members of the Coyotes won Olympics medals. G Mike Smith took gold as the Canadian team's third netminder, D Oliver Ekman-Larsson settled for silver with Sweden and LW Lauri Korpikoski won bronze with Finland. ... Winnipeg C Mark Scheifele fired in two goals in the Jets' 4-3 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 8, the club's last game before the break. The 20-year-old forward has 34 points, including 21 assists, and was tied for third in the NHL's rookie scoring race. ... Winnipeg captain LW Andrew Ladd has proved to be among the healthiest NHL players during his career and, specifically, since the start of the 2008-09 season when he played for the Chicago Blackhawks. He ranks second in the league in games played since that time (436), just one behind Anaheim Ducks C Andrew Cogliano. ... C Jim Slater returned to the Winnipeg lineup after being out with a hernia since mid-October. ... Phoenix C Shane Doan is one of three former members of the original Jets still in the NHL, along with Anaheim RW Teemu Selanne and injured Chicago G Nikolai Khabibulin.