By Patrick Williams | NHL.com Correspondent
WINNIPEG -- Bryan Little's first-period goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 1-0 win Thursday at the MTS Centre in a game that marked the return of the original Winnipeg Jets franchise to the city it left for Phoenix 15 years ago.
Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stopped all 33 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season.
Phoenix pressured the Jets (10-11-4) all night and sent 16 second-period shots at Pavelec. Later, the Coyotes (13-8-3) nearly tied the score with just under two minutes left in regulation, but a bouncing puck that appeared headed into the net bounced right and slid just past the post.
► Click here to see just how close the Coyotes came to tying the score.
The current Jets, who moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta during last summer, had won just once in the franchises’ first 15 meetings - a 1-0 decision at Atlanta on Nov. 23, 2003.
The win, Winnipeg’s first against a Western Conference opponent in four tries this season, snapped a two-game losing streak and redeemed the home club for an error-plagued performance two nights earlier in a 6-4 loss to Ottawa.
Mike Smith makes one of his 30 saves. Photo by Getty Images
Mike Smith, Phoenix’s workhorse netminder, appeared for the 20th time in 24 games and stopped 30 shots. He kept the Coyotes in the game midway through the third period by stopping Chris Thorburn’s chance off a David Schlemko turnover and then by denying Evander Kane, Winnipeg’s leading goal scorer.
The Coyotes, who entered the game with a two-game winning streak, expected a hostile environment in their former home city, and the 15,004 fans in the MTS Centre obliged with hearty booing throughout the night.
Jets fans greeted the Coyotes’ entrance onto the ice with resounding boos and jeered each Phoenix touch of the puck well into the third period.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
Once the opening butterflies and awkwardness subsided, Winnipeg got the game's only goal when forward Bryan Little scored 6:53 after the opening faceoff -- his fourth goal in six games.
Little accompanied Evander Kane on a two-on-one rush and headed to the net to tuck the rebound of Kane’s post-clanging shot behind Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. Kane’s assist pushed his point streak to four games.
• Captain Shane Doan, the only member of the former Winnipeg Jets still with the franchise, received a standing ovation from the crowd after he was highlighted on the video board during a break in the action in the first period. Click here to read more.
• Center Kyle Turris played in his first game of the 2011-12 season. Turris, who re-signed with the team on Nov. 22, logged 11:58 of ice time, took a team-high four shots on goal and went 6 for 6 in the faceoff circles. Click here to read more.
• The Coyotes went 0 for 2 on the power play and are 1 for 31 in the past 11 games. On the flip side, Phoenix killed all three of Winnipeg's power plays and have killed 27 of 29 penalties in those same 11 games.
• The Coyotes have been shut out four times in 24 games this season.
• The Coyotes' next game is Saturday vs. Philadelphia at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"Our goaltender did a fine job for us and gave us a chance to win... We’ve set a higher standard for ourselves than we played and that’s just disappointing. When you set a standard for yourself to play at a certain level and you expect to play there all the time, when you don’t play there it’s frustrating."
"We’re a lot better team than we played in the first 10 (minutes). We played a lot better after that. But the first 10 minutes we let them get their speed and that was our fault...They took advantage of it and they've got some guys that can skate and they played well."
"I think we wanted to get this win for the fans, and hopefully create a bit of a rivalry with them. I think it was an exciting game to be a part of and I think the fans enjoyed it."
• Dec. 1, 2011: WPG 1, PHX 0
• Oct. 15, 2011: PHX 4, WPG 1
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