New Jersey Devils 3 Winnipeg Jets 2 - Shootout.
The game ended a four game road trip for the Jets with the team picking up five of a possible eight points (2-1-1). After losing the opener 4-1, the rest were one goal games with great goaltending the story.
For the second straight game, Coach Claude Noel had goaltender Ondrej Pavelec as "our best player." Despite only one regulation loss on the trip the Coach was not thrilled with the way his team played, and neither was captain Andrew Ladd, adding "we played good hockey for about a game and a half." At one point in the first the Jets found themselves down 2-0 and being outshot 11-2. "We need a better start," said Pavelec, while Coach Noel was a little more to the point with "how we start like that is unbelievable. They played the night before, travelled, we were here resting."
Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta had the Devils up two by the 10:12 mark of the first period. It marked the first time in 10 games the Devils scored first. The Jets meanwhile had scored first in eight of their last nine road games. Jets caught a break before the end of the period when Mark Stuart's shot deflected off a Devil and in. Jets were better as the game went on but still gave the Devils too many quality chances. Evander Kane with his 10th of the year tied it late in the second, converting a two on one break with a great wrist shot. There was no scoring in the third, although there were chances by both teams.
Jets outshot the Devils 5-2 in overtime, but a shootout was needed to decide a winner. The first four shooters, Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson for the Devils, Blake Wheeler and Kane for the Jets, failed to score. Patrick Elias snuck one through Pavelec so the Jets needed a goal from Andrew Ladd to stay alive, but the Jets captain was stopped by Johan Hedberg giving the Devils their first win against the Jets in three tries.
The Jets ended the game with 25 shots, 10 from Kane in 25:16 of ice time. Coach Noel went down to pretty much nine forwards with Eric Tangradi and Alex Burmistrov not seeing any ice in the third, while Jim Slater was used for defensive zone face-offs but ended the night with only 7:49 of ice time.
Jets now 7-2-1 in their last 10 road games and 7-3-1 in their last 11 overall. The other area the Jets have really gotten better in is the penalty kill, as they have now killed 22 of 22 in the last eight games, and are perfect in 10 of the last 11 for a success rate of over 90 per cent.
Jets now return home for two, Tuesday against Toronto and Thursday against the New York Rangers. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290). As for the South East Division the Jets are now three back of the first place Carolina Hurricanes.
"We didn't have a lot of great players in this game," continued Coach Noel. "We need way better performances. We have to decide how we want to play. We weren't very good." On returning to the MTS Centre for two, "we have great support at home and have to take advantage of that."