WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — The Winnipeg Jets are starting to gain confidence in their new home.
Bryan Little scored twice early in the first period to help the Jets beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4 on Saturday.
Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and two assists, and Andrew Ladd, Jim Slater and Nik Antropov also scored for Winnipeg. Little, Ladd and Byfuglien had power-play goals, and Slater scored short-handed.
Scott Hartnell had two goals and two assists, and Matt Read also scored twice for Philadelphia. The Flyers hadn’t lost in regulation time in nine games, and had won three straight.
The Jets have won three straight at home against Eastern Conference opponents, including victories over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals earlier in the week.
Little made it 2-0 with goals 2:15 apart. He has four goals this season.
Winnipeg is playing the schedule of the former Atlanta Thrashers, and is still in the Southeast Division because the franchise moved too close to the start of the season. The Jets will shift to the Western Conference next season.
“This was a good homestand for us,” Little said. “We played three tough teams and got three wins, so it’s great.
“I think (confidence) is huge for us. It just kept building, starting with that first game. These were not easy teams. These are teams that could give us some real trouble. But we’re playing simple … we’re outworking teams.”
Winnipeg (8-9-3) led 5-1 midway through the second period and held on.
Little scored off a rebound on a power play at 4:45, and followed with an even-strength goal at 7:00, blasting a shot through goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s legs.
Ladd made it 3-0 midway through the period when he took a feed from Kyle Wellwood and scored on the power play for his sixth of the season.
“We needed that fast start. We got those power plays and took advantage,” Byfuglien said. “Winning is everything. It’s fun here. We’re building off these fans. It’s something we’ve done all year.”
Hartnell scored his first of the game with 6:33 left in the period when he tipped a shot over goalie Ondrej Pavelec’s shoulder on a power play.
Slater made it 4-1 with his short-handed goal early in the second.
The Flyers then took a pair of minor penalties to give the Jets a 5-on-3 power play for a full 2 minutes. Byfuglien made them pay, slipping a shot past Bobrovsky from a sharp angle to give the Jets a 5-1 lead.
“Against a team like that, that’s playing with confidence and moving the puck around, you’re going to get behind,” Flyers captain Chris Pronger said of the penalties taken by Philadelphia. “We let them get off to a great start and they kind of coasted in from there.
“When you’re not ready to compete and play hard and do all the little things, we let them skate around and do what they wanted to do and that’s going to be the result, that first 10 minutes.”
Almost immediately, Jets’ fans began chanting “We want Ilya! We want Ilya!”, hoping that Flyers coach Peter Laviolette would substitute goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for Bobrovsky.
Bryzgalov gave up four goals on 10 shots in Winnipeg’s 9-8 victory over the Flyers on Oct. 28.
The Russian goalie also made some comments about Winnipeg last spring when he was with the Phoenix Coyotes, saying publicly he wouldn’t move to the Manitoba capital if the franchise moved from the desert.
Hartnell scored his second power-play goal of the game with just under 4 minutes left in the second.
Read scored twice for the Flyers in the third period.
“We have to be smarter (in the third period), but two points is two points,” Pavelec said. “It shows us we can play against those teams. They are one of the best teams in the NHL and we know if we play our style of hockey, we can beat them.”
NOTES: Jets forward Eric Fehr, from Winkler, Manitoba, made his season debut after missing the first 19 games of the season. Fehr, coming off shoulder surgery, was dealt from the Washington Capitals to the Jets in July for forward Danick Paquette and a fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft. Fehr had 10 goals and 10 assists in 52 games for the Capitals last season.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)