Devils wrap home-and-home in Winnipeg
Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 7:07 AM
NHL.comDEVILS (10-5-4) at JETS (9-9-1)
TV: MSG PLUS 2
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New Jersey 5-4-1; Winnipeg 5-5-0
Second of three meetings. Winnipeg scored three unanswered goals to claim a 4-2 win in New Jersey on Sunday.
The Jets return home playing their best hockey of the season, having just completed a 4-1 road trip by beating the Rangers on Tuesday. Waiting for them at MTS Centre is a Devils team that has dropped five of seven and just placed goalie Martin Brodeur on injured reserve with a bad back.
This is the completion of a home-and-home for New Jersey, which had three days off in the schedule between dates with Winnipeg. Unfortunately, that wasn't deemed to be enough time for Brodeur, who decided in warm-ups Sunday he couldn't go and was replaced by Johan Hedberg. He's expected to start again Thursday, with Keith Kinkaid recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League to back him up. Travis Zajac, who scored in the Devils' loss to the Jets, will play his first NHL game in his hometown.
"There will be a lot of friends and family that are going to come to the game and it's pretty exciting," Zajac told The (Bergen) Record earlier in the week. "I've never had a chance to play in front of a lot of these people, so it's going to be a neat experience."
While New Jersey was resting, Winnipeg kept its momentum going Tuesday at Madison Square Garden -- Evander Kane in particular. Kane extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with a pair, including the game-winner, and Olli Jokinen also tallied twice in the 4-3 win over the Rangers. Ondrej Pavelec, who has seen a heavy workload with veteran backup Al Montoya on the shelf, stopped 30 shots. The Jets are now back at .500 for the season and will look to improve upon a disappointing 3-5 mark on home ice.
"It's a big win for us and we finish the road trip 4-1, so that's great," Pavelec said. "But we have to come home and start to win again at home. We built some confidence here, hopefully, and it wasn't a situation for us after those losses at home. It was a great road trip for us."
Andrei Loktionov has a goal and two assists during a three-game points streak for the Devils. … Kane has six goals and four assists during an eight-game points streak for the Jets. Grant Clitsome has a goal and two assists during a three-game points streak. Anthony Peluso assisted on two goals Tuesday for his first NHL points.
Brodeur isn't eligible to return until Monday, but New Jersey could activate forward Ryan Carter (head), who has missed the last three games. Forward Dainius Zubrus (wrist) isn't expected back for another month. … Montoya (lower body) is on injured reserve for Winnipeg along with defensemen Tobias Enstrom (shoulder) and Zach Redmond (leg).