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GAME STORY: Devils 2, Jets 1 SO

Devils play a perfect road game, grinding the Winnipeg Jets to a 2-1 shootout victory on Tuesday night

by Marc Ciampa NJDevils / NewJerseyDevils.com

WINNIPEG, MB - The New Jersey Devils scored early and Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 32 of 33 shots as they won their second consecutive road game to start this five-game road trip. 

Nikita Gusev and Jesper Boqvist scored in the shootout for the Devils, who improved to 4-5-4 on the season. 

Video: POST-GAME REPORT | Devils 2, Jets 1 SO

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The Devils continue their Canada swing in Calgary on Thursday. The game can be seen on MSG+ 2 and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com. Puck drop is shortly after 9 p.m. ET.

Devils head coach John Hynes was asked about using Gusev and Boqvist in the shootout. 

"Gusev has excellent numbers in the KHL," Hynes began. "Boqvist had some good numbers in Sweden but he's a guy that's excellent in practice. In our practice numbers he was at like 44%."

Certainly, the gamble paid off in this one but not to be discounted was goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood stopping both Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine. 

"He looked real confident back there. He had some huge saves when he needed it," said Nico Hischier, who scored the lone Devils goal in regulation time. 

The Devils got on the board less than five minutes into the game. Rushing down the ice, Taylor Hall jammed two shots from the side of the net that were kicked out by Jets starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. The second rebound went to Nico Hischier in front, who chipped the puck in with a one-handed stab to put the Devils in the lead.

Andy Greene drove to the net and was held up by Jack Roslovic, resulting in the first power play of the game being awarded to the Devils. The club had some chances but could not convert. 

Devils used the momentum of the power play to start carrying the game, outshooting Winnipeg 11-5 through the period's first 15 minutes. 

"First period, we played well but in the second we didn't come out the way we wanted," Hischier noted. 

Coach Hynes agreed.

"I thought the first period we played pretty well, got back on our heels in the second and the third was a 50/50 game."

The bench boss added that he really liked the team's play in front of Blackwood throughout the contest. 

"The commitment in front of him, the defensive play, was really strong." 

Video: Devils defeat Jets in the shootout, 2-1

Blackwood was also happy with the play in front of him. 

"Guys were buying in, blocking shots, doing selfless plays that don't show up on the scoreboard," he said. "We played a great game and found a way to win a hard-fought battle in an away building."

Six minutes into the middle frame, Miles Wood got called for roughing to send the Jets on their first power play of the game. Devils were able to kill it off but 30 seconds after Wood came out of the box, Josh Morrissey's point shot was tipped in the slot by Andrew Copp to make it 1-1. 

Coach Hynes talked about how happy he is that the team is finally seeing some results come out of their good play. 

"We went through some struggles at the beginning of the year. There was a lot of outside noise but we really stuck to the process and stuck together," he noted.  "We saw our play getting better. We weren't getting the results we wanted but it was getting better and better. Sometimes when you're in a rut you have to get your play better first.

"It's nice that we did it. We got a week ahead of us with some real big games so we're going to have a big trip here." 

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