- Associated Press - Sunday, April 6, 2014

TORONTO (AP) - Two days after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Winnipeg Jets didn’t show any signs of a letdown against a Toronto Maple Leafs team still trying for a postseason berth.

Tobias Enstrom scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 Saturday night.

Brian Little and Jacob Trouba scored in the first period, and Olli Jokinen had a goal in the third to give the Jets some cushion. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 23 shots for Winnipeg, which was knocked out of playoff contention with a loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

“I thought it was a great effort start to finish,” Jets captain Andrew Ladd said. “Offensively we were able to sustain pressure throughout the whole game. That’s just through hard work, being in the right place. … We can be proud of the effort we put forth tonight.”

Phil Kessel tied a career high with his 37th goal and Nazem Kadri also scored for Toronto, which remained at 84 points. The Leafs have just three games remaining and trail Columbus by one point for the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. The Blue Jackets have five games left.

James Reimer finished with 37 saves for the Leafs.

“I don’t know if I can really give you an explanation for that, for how it appeared,” Reimer said after losing his sixth straight start. “I know in our heads we wanted it, but maybe it didn’t show it there.”

The loss dropped Toronto into a tie with New Jersey, which beat Carolina for its third win in four games.

Kessel didn’t want to concede anything about realizing the playoff dream was essentially gone.

“You never know,” Kessel said. “We still have three games left and we’re going to play hard. You know, whatever happens, happens here.”

Jets coach Paul Maurice said earlier Saturday he was starting Pavelec in goal over rookie Michael Hutchinson because the Leafs and the other teams in the playoff race deserved Winnipeg dressing its “best lineup.” That lineup did not include star winger Evander Kane, who was made a healthy scratch and Maurice offered no explanation other than to call it a “coach’s decision.”

Kane has two goals and eight assists in 18 games since the end of the Olympic break. Devin Setoguchi, a healthy scratch for four of the past five games, replaced him.

When asked if he enjoyed playing spoiler against the team that fired him in 2008 after two seasons without a playoff appearance, Maurice offered up a wry smile.

“No,” Maurice said. “You know what, it’s a lousy job. You don’t ever want to play spoiler. We’ve talked a lot about being where you are and that’s where we were tonight and we gave our best effort.”

A “solid effort” was something that Leafs center Tyler Bozak noted was lacking at times Saturday night. At times, he thought the Jets were the harder-working team but didn’t understand why.

Story Continues →