Devils close season series with Jets
Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 10:26 AM
NHL.comJETS (12-11-1) at DEVILS (11-9-5)
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Winnipeg 7-3-0, New Jersey 2-6-2
The game is the third and final meeting. Winnipeg has taken the previous two encounters, including a 3-1 verdict on Feb. 28 at MTS Centre in Winnipeg when Andrew Ladd struck for a pair of goals.
Both teams are in a tough stretch of games, but must find the strength to continue to gain ground in the tight Eastern Conference. The Devils, who are playing their fifth game in seven days, are currently seventh in the East with 27 points. The Jets, who are playing their fourth road game in six days, are ninth with 25 points.
Winnipeg improved to 2-1-0 on the current road swing following a 3-2 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 38 of 40 shots and Dustin Byfuglien scored with 40.5 seconds left in overtime for the victory to help the team avenge a pair of losses to the Panthers at the BB&T Center, 4-1 on Tuesday and 6-3 on Jan. 31. It was Byfuglien's fourth goal of the season, and first in 14 games. The Jets' penalty killing unit played a big role in win, denying the Panthers on all four of their opportunities. The Jets have killed the last 21 times shorthanded, but are still 29th in the League with a 76.6 percent efficiency.
New Jersey dropped its fifth straight road game on Saturday when it suffered a 6-3 setback to the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. The Devils did score two early goals in the third from Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias to pull within 5-3, but Jiri Tlusty scored his second goal of the game into an empty net to seal the deal. It marked the ninth straight game that the Devils allowed the first goal of the contest -- the team record is 11. Johan Hedberg, who yielded five goals on 18 shots over two periods, was replaced by backup Jeff Frazee in the third. Frazee, who was making his National Hockey League debut, made three saves on three shots.
Patrik Elias has scored goals in three straight games and leads the team with 25 points in 25 games. … Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd has four goals and eight points in his past seven games.
The Devils are without Dainius Zubrus (wrist) and Martin Brodeur (back). Defensemen Henrik Tallinder (lower body) and Bryce Salvador (upper body) are questionable. … Defensemen Zach Redmond (leg) and Tobias Enstrom (shoulder) are out for the Jets.