After reaching a major milestone, Bryan Little was having a hard time wrapping his head around it.
Little scored the game-winning goal for his 500th career point and the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 on Friday night.
The 31-year-old Little began his NHL career in 2007-08 with the Atlanta Thrashers, who relocated to Winnipeg in 2011.
“Went by fast,” he said. “Trying to think of the years over my career and up to this point and it seemed like it flew by. Hopefully, there’s many more to come.”
Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists to lead the Jets. Brandon Tanev and Blake Wheeler also scored for Winnipeg, and Wheeler added an assist.
Laurent Brossoit made his 10th start of the season and stopped 33 shots for the Jets (28-14-2), improving to 9-1-1 and tying his career high for starts in a season.
“To start, I felt a little bit rusty,” said Brossoit, who last started ahead of Connor Hellebuyck on Dec. 22. “First period was a little sloppy in my eyes, but second period, third period I definitely settled in and it felt good.”
Luke Glendening had a short-handed goal and defenseman Dennis Cholowski scored on the power play for Detroit, which lost its third straight.
“We haven’t been where we want to be this year and we’ve still got a long way to go, but we’ll take any building block we can at this point,” Glendening said about the special teams clicking.
Jonathan Bernier made 23 saves for the struggling Red Wings (16-23-7), who are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games.
Winnipeg scored early and late in the first period to open a 2-0 lead.
Tanev got his 10th goal of the season 13 seconds into the first and Wheeler had his pass attempt redirected into the net off the stick of Red Wings veteran Thomas Vanek with two seconds left.
“You start the game and you’re down 1-0 before you blink. That’s a hard way. You give away the goal basically,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said.
Little made it 3-0 at 4:41 of the second with his ninth goal of the season — and 209th of his career — when his shot changed direction after hitting Detroit defenseman Mike Green, who was back after a 13-game absence due to a foot injury.
Little, Tanev, Connor and Mark Scheifele, who assisted on Wheeler’s goal, all extended their point streaks to four games. Scheifele and Connor each have six points in that span. Little has five points and Tanev four.
Detroit got on the scoreboard at 10:03 of the second after Glendening and Filip Hronek went in on Brossoit by themselves. Hronek faked a shot and sent the puck to Glendening, who beat the netminder on the stick side.
Brossoit made a key save late in the second, smothering his glove over a puck that was behind him and heading toward the goal line.
Cholowski made it 3-2 at 6:50 of the third when Niklas Kronwall fired a pass to him and Brossoit couldn’t slide back in time to stop Cholowski’s shot.
“(Kronwall) made a great play by faking a one-timer and the goalie went down, and I don’t think he realized that the puck came over to me,” Cholowski said.
“When I got it, I looked up and I saw a lot of net, so I was pretty grateful for that.”
The Red Wings went on the power play with eight minutes remaining, but some blocked shots helped Brossoit and he also made some timely saves to kill off a delay-of-game penalty to Jacob Trouba.
Jets coach Paul Maurice continues to be impressed with the way Brossoit is handling his backup duties since he signed as a free agent in the offseason.
“You can’t let the demons of how many starts am I getting or how much ice time am I getting affect how you push yourself in practice,” Maurice said.
“So he’s been quietly a good leader for our group. He practices really, really hard, so when he gets into that game it’s just a continuation of what he’s doing. I think he’s been just an outstanding acquisition for our team.”
Connor scored into an empty net with a minute remaining.
Red Wings: Play at Minnesota on Saturday.
Jets: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.