Trailing 2-1 following the first period, the Winnipeg Jets reeled off three unanswered goals to pick up a 4-2 comeback win over the New Jersey Devils.
Evander Kane scored the winner at 17:48 of the second period, which stretched his point streak to seven games – the longest active point streak in the NHL. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 24 of 26 shots, and Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little registered two assists each in the effort, helping to run the Jets record to 3-1-0 on their current five-game road trip.
The Jets will wrap up the road swing on Tuesday, when they take on the New York Rangers. The game will be carried on TSN and TSN 1290 Winnipeg, with a start time of 6:00pm.
The game got off to a spirited start as Anthony Peluso and Krys Barch dropped the gloves 1:57 into the first period. Less than a minute later, Wheeler broke in down the left wing boards before turning to find a trailing Zach Bogosian in the high slot. Bogosian snapped a shot between the right arm and body of Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg for his first goal of the season. Little drew the assist, and for the fifth game in a row, the Jets had a 1-0 lead.
The Devils knotted the game at 1-1 midway through the first period on a two-on-one chance for Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac. Elias had the puck on the right side, and lifted a backhand feed over the stick of Bogosian and onto the tape of Zajac who whipped a wrist shot past Pavelec’s outstretched glove to get the home side on the board.
New Jersey was awarded the first power play of the game when Dustin Byfuglien was sent off for tripping at 11:07 of the first period. Devils power forward David Clarkson had the best chance of the power play as he took a feed in the slot and sent a hard snap shot low to Pavelec’s stick side, but the goaltender kicked out the right pad to keep the score at one apiece.
The Devils eventually were able to forge ahead 2-1 at 17:10 of the opening frame. Following a Winnipeg turnover, former Jet Alexei Ponikarovsky let a shot go from between the circles that deflected wide. The line of Ponikarovsky, Loktionov and Steve Bernier were able to keep the pressure on the Jets and their work paid off as Bernier was able to jam a puck home at the left side of the net past Pavelec.
The Jets responded with pressure of their own on the following shift, as Wheeler was able to set up Captain Andrew Ladd who was parked in front of the Devils’ net. Hedberg was down on the play, but Ladd narrowly missed, sending the puck wide right.
The first period came to a close with the Jets down 2-1, despite a 9-8 edge in shots for the visitors.
The Devils power play went to work for the second time at 5:16 of period number two when Nik Antropov went off for hooking. The best chance went to the shorthanded Jets as Bogosian nearly duplicated his first goal of the game, sneaking in late on a rush and taking a pass in the high slot – this time from Bryan Little. Bogosian targeted Hedberg’s stick side again, but the puck caromed wide off the leg of a Devils defender.
The Jets got their first chance on the power play at 11:18 of the middle frame with Devils defenceman Anton Volchenkov in the box for interference, and they made good on the opportunity at 13:01. Paul Postma was able to get a skate against the left boards to keep a clearing attempt in at the Devils line before sending a backhand across to Grant Clitsome. Clitsome walked in from the blue-line and wired a low wrist shot that overpowered Hedberg’s glove, tying the game at 2-2.
Less than five minutes later, the Jets were able to retake the lead at 3-2. With the Devils applying pressure in the Jets zone, Evander Kane broke up a pass just inside the Jets blue-line. The puck ended up on the stick of Alexander Burmistrov, who handed it back to Kane near center ice. Kane split the Devils defence with a burst of speed, and with his head up was able to elude a diving Hedberg and tuck the puck in on the backhand past the fallen goaltender.
For the second time in as many games, the Jets went to the dressing room after the second period holding a 3-2 lead. The Devils outshot the Jets 13-11 in the middle frame. Through two periods, the Devils held a 21-20 edge in that department.
The Jets were unable to cash in on their second power play of the night when Volchenkov was sent off again, this time for kneeing at 4:37. However, just over a minute after the Devils got back to full strength, Ladd put the Jets up 4-2 at 7:46. With the Devils trying to rim the puck around the boards and out of their zone, Wheeler clogged up the corner to Hedberg’s right. The puck bounced off of Little and right onto the stick of Ladd in the left circle. Ladd wasted no time releasing a wrist shot that was too fast for the glove of Hedberg.
After going up 4-2, strong defensive play by the Jets limited offensive chances for the Devils. In an effort to rectify this, New Jersey Head Coach Peter DeBoer pulled Hedberg with just over three minutes left in regulation. Despite the six-on-five manpower advantage, the Devils still couldn’t solve Pavelec and the Jets defence, as the visitors held on for a 4-2 victory.
The Jets held the Devils to five shots in the final frame, while registering seven of their own. The final shots tally saw the Jets with a narrow 27-26 advantage.