Andrew Ladd has two goals and an assist to lead Jets over Devils 3-1

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 10:55 PM The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - Andrew Ladd had two goals and an assist to lead the Winnipeg Jets in a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Blake Wheeler added an empty-net goal for the Jets (10-9-1), who have won three straight and five of their last six games.

Andrei Loktionov had the lone goal for the slumping Devils (10-6-4), who only one win in their last six games after a fast start.

Ladd tied a franchise record for earliest goal when he went around the defence to pick up a bouncing puck and put a backhand past Devils goalie Johan Hedberg just eight seconds into the game.

The Jets’ captain continued his red-hot start by notching his 12th goal of the season to break a 1-1 tie with only eight minutes remaining. Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien carried the puck end-to-end and attempted a wraparound before Ladd jammed the loose puck into the net.

Loktionov tied the game early in the second period for New Jersey when he streaked down the right wing and snapped a shot between Ondrej Pavelec’s pads.

The Jets had three power plays in the middle frame, including 56 seconds with a two-man advantage, but couldn’t find any offence. The team has just one power-play goal in its last 11 games.

New Jersey couldn’t score on three power plays of its own.

Neither goaltender was busy, but Pavelec needed to make some difficult saves to keep the Jets in the game. He stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced.

It took the Jets more than nine minutes to record their first shot of the third period. Hedberg finished with 18 saves.

The Jets wrap up their two-game home stand on Saturday afternoon against the Capitals. The Devils are in Buffalo to face the Sabres on Saturday.

Notes: Devils goalie Martin Brodeur didn’t make the trip to Winnipeg after injuring his back warming up for Sunday’s game against the Jets… Jets trainer Rob Milette and assistant equipment manager Mark Grehan received a standing ovation in recognition of their role aiding defenceman Zach Redmond last week when he was seriously cut by a skate blade… Devils centre Travis Zajac, a Winnipeg native, played his first NHL game in his hometown… Alexei Ponikarovsky was back in Winnipeg after starting the season with the Jets. He played 12 games after signing as a free agent, but was dealt back to his former club.

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