There's no denying the talent of 22-year-old winger Evander Kane, who's trying to take the next step and become a leader for the Winnipeg Jets.
He responded with a solid performance after a promotion to the top line, and he'll look to stay hot Tuesday night when the Jets host the Montreal Canadiens.
Kane showed plenty of fire in Winnipeg's 5-3 win over Los Angeles on Oct. 4, engaging in a fight in the first period before scoring a goal and adding two assists. He didn't record a point, though, during a subsequent three-game losing streak and appeared to be struggling.
Coach Claude Noel decided to move the former 30-goal scorer to the first line with Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler for Sunday's matchup against New Jersey, and Kane delivered a pair of goals in the 3-0 win.
Kane opened the scoring in the second before adding an empty-netter in the third. Captain Andrew Ladd had the final goal.
"I take it upon myself to be one of the leaders in this room and on the ice," said Kane, whose three goals are tied with Little and Ladd for the team lead. "Whatever area I feel I need to lead in, whatever the situation is in the game, I want to do that, and I try to do that as much as I can."
Noel was pleased with how the Jets bounced back from their skid but didn't guarantee that Sunday's lines would remain the same against Montreal, which has won the last five meetings against Winnipeg (3-3-0).
"I just thought the guys played better," Noel said. "We'll see where the lines go, but for us right now we've got a lot of positives to build on."
Kane has only one goal in 14 career games against the Canadiens, who have also won eight of the previous nine in the series. Carey Price is 7-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average in that span, and he could be in net again after a solid performance in Saturday's 4-1 win over Vancouver.
Price, who is 2-2-0 with a 2.27 GAA, made 39 saves to help the Canadiens (3-2-0) win for the third time in four games.
"I've really liked what I've seen from Carey Price since the start of the season," coach Michel Therrien said. "He's in control, his positioning is good and he's making key saves. (Saturday) was definitely his best game of the year."
Lars Eller has scored in four of the team's five games and has five goals. He was credited with a bizarre goal Saturday, clearing the puck to the opposite end of the ice with Montreal shorthanded only to have Vancouver misplay the puck into its own net.
Though the Canadiens caught a break on that goal, Eller said Price was the main reason for the victory.
"It's probably the best hockey I've seen him play, and that says a lot," Eller said. "He kept us in the game. I don't know how. Unbelievable performance."
Al Montoya made 24 saves in his first action of the season Sunday for the Jets, who could turn back to Ondrej Pavelec for this contest.
Pavelec, 2-3-0 with a 3.25 GAA, has started each game during Winnipeg's current skid against Montreal while posting a 4.43 GAA.
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