WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Michael Hutchinson is taking advantage of his increased playing time this season for the Winnipeg Jets.
Hutchinson stopped 26 shots and the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Dallas Stars 4-2 Tuesday.
The rookie goalie is 18-7-4 on the season.
"As a goalie you always want to play more games and you want to do everything you can to help the team win games," Hutchinson said.
"Right now going down the stretch, the only thing that matters is getting the team in the playoffs. So whether it's myself or (Ondrej Pavelec) playing, as long as we can win games and get the team in the playoffs that's the only thing that matters right now."
The Jets strengthened their hold on the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 73 points, four ahead of Minnesota after the Wild lost 2-1 to Edmonton on Tuesday.
Adam Lowry used his own rebound to break a 1-1 second-period tie for the Jets. Bryan Little had a power-play goal, Dustin Byfuglien scored on a breakaway and Michael Frolik added an empty-netter for Winnipeg.
Erik Cole and Jason Demers scored for Dallas, which is winless in its past four games and slipping out of the playoff picture.
Jhonas Enroth stopped 21 shots for Dallas. He got the start after giving up six third-period goals in the Stars' 6-2 loss to Minnesota on Sunday.
"We definitely had our opportunities, especially the posts in the third period," Cole said.
"We had some real good looks. The game's 2-1 and we gave up a breakaway and it's just one of those deflating goals. We kept with it and continued to push, but unfortunately it wasn't enough."
Winnipeg took a 1-0 lead at 5:05 of the first period with Stars forward Jason Spezza in the penalty box for crosschecking.
Little's shot bounced off a Dallas defender and then hit Enroth and went in for his team-leading 24th goal of the season.
Dallas didn't record its first shot on goal until about seven minutes into the period. Winnipeg held the 14-10 margin after 20 minutes.
Cole scored his 18th goal of the season at 12:00 of the second, before the Jets had even registered a shot in the period. Spezza assisted on the goal and has points in nine of his past 10 games, including five goals and nine assists.
Lowry's goal at 14:34 gave the Jets their first two shots on net in the period — and the 2-1 lead.
"We had just talked about getting pucks in around his feet," Lowry said of Enroth, who was acquired in a trade with Buffalo on Feb. 11.
"He had been sitting for a little bit so I just tried to create a rebound and I was able to get my own rebound and pop it in."
Defenseman Jacob Trouba sent a long pass out to Byfuglien, who went in alone on Enroth and scored with a low backhand shot at 5:10 of the third to make it 3-1.
"A breakaway (by Byfuglien) and (Lowry) gets two opportunities. We needed a big save off one of those," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said.
"I thought the only chances we gave up in the second period were when the guy walks in. It's like Groundhog Day. It's the same story — we dominate play, we hit four or five goal posts, we didn't finish."
Frolik scored after Spezza turned over the puck at 16:53.
Demers scored his third of the season with 1:07 left in the game.
NOTES: Frolik was replacing right wing Blake Wheeler on the top line with Little and Andrew Ladd. Wheeler, who may be nursing an injury related to a shot he took in the knee in Winnipeg's 5-1 loss to Washington last Thursday, had his consecutive-game streak stopped at 227. ... The Jets play their second game of a four-game homestand Thursday against St. Louis. Dallas hosts Colorado on Friday.
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