WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Carolina Hurricanes’ four-game road trip had a disappointing start.
The Canes were beaten 2-1 by the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday as Nikolaj Ehlers scored his team-leading fifth goal and goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots.
Forward Jeff Skinner, playing his 500th career game for the Hurricanes, scored a power-play goal for Carolina (1-1-1), which suffered its first regulation loss of the season.
“They were better than us for the most part,” Canes coach Bill Peters said. “We didn’t make enough plays. We didn’t get the puck to the net, we didn’t get enough bodies to the net.
“I don’t think we made good decisions with the puck for the most part throughout the game and our execution left a little bit to be desired.”
The Jets now are 3-0 in games Hellebuyck starts after going 0-2 in front of Steve Mason, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason. Since giving up 13 goals in their first two games, the Jets have allowed five goals in the last three.
On the winner, Ehlers took a feed from captain Blake Wheeler and wired a shot from the high slot over the stick-side shoulder of goalie Scott Darling 6:03 into the third period to break a 1-1 tie.
"We just found a way to win a hockey game against a team that hadn't lost a regulation game and had played solid hockey," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. "I'm not here trying to convince anybody that was well played. That game was going to be played like that, was going to look like that, with these two teams and the style of play."
Winnipeg took a 1-0 lead when Bryan Little scored his first of the season 13:33 into the opening frame. Patrik Laine gained the zone and had the puck slide off his stick to Ehlers, who centered it to the high slot to Little.
The Hurricanes quickly responded, with Skinner putting away a power-play goal 1:45 later. Skinner snapped a shot over the shoulder of Hellebuyck and under the crossbar to make it 1-1.
Noah Hanifin and Justin Williams earned assists on the Skinner goal, his second of the season.
Canes defenseman Justin Faulk served as team captain for the first time, wearing the “C” in the team’s first road game. Faulk and Jordan Staal are team co-captains — Staal will have the “C” for most home games and Faulk will be the captain on the road.
Darling, making his first road start as the Hurricanes No. 1 goalie, made 19 saves.
"He gives us a chance every night," Peters. "There he is again tonight, two goals against. It's a race to three in the National Hockey League. You've got to be able to get to three to get a point, if not two points, and we didn't do that here."