Jets 4, Devils 2
Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 8:52 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Special teams again made the difference for the Winnipeg Jets -- only this time the results were positive.
The Jets scored a power-play goal for the first time in nine games and their 30th-ranked penalty kill was perfect Sunday at Prudential Center in a 4-2 win against the New Jersey Devils.
Grant Clitsome broke the Jets' 0-for-21 spell on the power play with a game-tying goal in the second period. And, after giving up three power-play goals Saturday in a 5-3 loss at Philadelphia, Winnipeg held the Devils to only four shots on goal over two failed chances with the man-advantage Sunday.
Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves for his sixth win of the season while Zach Bogosian, Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd also scored for the Jets, who have a chance to go 4-1 on their season-long five-game road trip when they play Tuesday at Madison Square Garden against the struggling New York Rangers.
The Jets have already won at Buffalo, Carolina and New Jersey on this trip. They are 8-9-1 this season.
The Devils lost their second game in as many days and are now just 2-4-1 since their season-best five-game winning streak. Their penalty kill continues to sink them as it has now yielded 13 goals on 32 chances over the past nine games.
New Jersey has scored only eight goals in its last five games. It is 1-3-1.
But, the Devils may have a much bigger problem than a slumping PK and a scoring drought.
Martin Brodeur, who was expected to start Sunday, was forced out of the lineup due to soreness and is expected to be re-evaluated Monday, according to the team.
Brodeur left the ice with roughly four minutes left in warmups. He was on the bench in full gear for the duration of the game, but Johan Hedberg, who gave up five goals on 26 shots in a 5-1 loss at Washington on Saturday, was forced into the starting lineup.
Hedberg finished his first home start of the season with 23 saves.
Winnipeg erased a one-goal deficit to take a 3-2 lead into second intermission on goals by Grant Clitsome and Evander Kane. Ladd gave Winnipeg the insurance goal it needed with a laser of a shot from the left circle 7:46 into the third period. It was Ladd's 10th goal of the season.
New Jersey thought it might have gotten one back with just over six minutes left in the third period, but Marek Zidlicky's goal was waved off as the officials ruled that a whistle was blown prior to the shot.
It appeared that Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey grabbed a hold of the puck when it was on top of Pavelec's pad and tossed it behind him, directly to Zidlicky at the point.
Regardless, it was ruled a no-goal and the Jets kept the lead they built in the second period on the goals by Clitsome and Kane separated by just 4:47.
Clitsome's goal, scored 13:01 into the period, was the Jets’ first on the power play in nine games and 22 chances. Kane's goal was simply a thing of beauty.
Kane blocked Adam Larsson's shot-pass attempt from the right point and then broke up the ice. The puck went to Alexander Burmistrov, whose tap pass up the ice caught Kane in stride. He entered the zone with speed, used his strength to split both Andy Greene and Larsson, made a move around Hedberg's poke check attempt and scored his seventh goal of the season before crashing into the cage.
Although it doesn't show up on the scoresheet, Kane also chipped in on Clitsome's game-tying goal at 13:01 with a screen in front.
Clitsome got the puck on the right side and had both space and a shooting lane, but he waited for Kane to show up in front of Hedberg before firing a shot that was good enough for his second goal of the season.
Winnipeg got on the board early as Bogosian scored his first goal of the season just 2:30 into the game on a hard shot from between the hash marks, but the Devils struck twice with goals from Travis Zajac and Steve Bernier to take a 2-1 lead before the first intermission.
Zajac scored off a 2-on-1 rush with Patrik Elias, who now has 17 assists this season. He's tied for third in the National Hockey League with Henrik Zetterberg and Evgeni Malkin.
The Jets had four guys caught in the zone when David Clarkson banked a pass off the right-wing boards and up to Elias, sending him and Zajac in for the 2-on-1. Elias found Zajac on the left side and he buried a shot past Pavelec 9:52 into the period.
Bernier got the puck at the left post and found a way to tuck it under Pavelec for his fifth goal of the season with 2:50 left in the first period. Andrei Loktionov's tough-angle shot from the left side hit the cage and came back out on the left side. Bernier collected it and stuffed it into the net.
The Jets had to play with only 11 forwards for the majority of the game as they lost forward Antti Miettinen to a lower-body injury just 17 seconds into his first shift. Miettinen was making his season debut after missing the first 17 games with an upper-body injury.