The formula was a little different for the Winnipeg Jets, the result was exactly the same.

Don't look now but the struggling Jets have climbed out of the Central Division basement and are riding their first three-game winning streak of the season after walking into Joe Louis Arena and earning a 3-2 shootout decision over the Detroit Red Wings.

Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec was outstanding in this one, making 41 saves in 65 minutes of work before allowing only one of three shooters to beat him in the penalty-shot contest.

"They didn't give us much, but we found a way to win," said Pavelec, who won for the third consecutive time after getting pulled on Nov. 2 and watching Al Montoya make back-to-back starts. "I feel good right now. I just try to find a way to help the team and try to win as many games as I can.

"The guys helped me in the shootout. It's important to find a way, it doesn't have to be pretty."

It's not always pretty for this group, but lately the Jets have been digging deep, whether that means coming from behind against the San Jose Sharks or finding a way not to get too down after failing to hold a pair of one-goal leads against the Red Wings.

As a result, the Jets returned to .500 for the first time in a month and seem to finally have some legitimate traction, having won four of five games to move to 9-9-2 overall.

"I don't know if you ever see a streak coming, you potentially see the attitude of your team changing or some cohesiveness that's starting to build with the group and then you're hoping that attaches itself to some good play," said Jets head coach Claude Noel. "Our team, the way, we are, we've got to have a lot of guys play their A-game in order to have some success.

"That's what we've had, more than anything, this last little while."

The Red Wings played a strong puck possession game throughout but the Jets scored first when Bryan Little buried his team-leading 11th on a slick dish from Blake Wheeler at 7:10 of the opening period.

"After we got that goal, the game turned very defensive," said Little. "Both teams were testing each other's patience and seeing who was going to make the first mistake."

As it turned out, Pavelec made sure to cover up most of the mistakes the Jets made.

While the Jets showed some resiliency, this game wasn't a Picasso, as Noel occasionally likes to say.

The Jets' penalty kill, which has been an area of strength this season, gave up a pair of goals to Red Wings centre Pavel Datsyuk.

Datsyuk's second goal of the game came one second after a tripping minor to Blake Wheeler had expired and Evander Kane was still sitting in the box for a high-sticking penalty he took in the offensive zone that left the Red Wings with a two-man advantage for 49 seconds.

The Jets' power play drought has now reached 1-for-47 and slipped to 30th in the NHL at 8.4% (6-for-71).