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GAMEDAY: Jets at Devils

6:00 pm CT - TV: TSN 3; Radio: TSN 1290

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

NEWARK, NJ - There are 10 sets of back-to-back games on the schedule for the Winnipeg Jets this season, the first of those wraps up tonight in New Jersey against the Devils.

The Jets (0-1-0) have won each of the last six games against the Devils, sweeping the season series in each of the last three years.

But like the Jets, the Devils have a number of new faces on the roster. Players like 2019 first overall pick Jack Hughes, former Nashville Predators defenceman P.K. Subban, and Wayne Simmonds - who split last season with the Predators and the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Jets didn't have a morning skate Friday after falling 6-4 to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden the night before.

Laurent Brossoit will start in goal for the Jets, who are looking to bounce back after a back-and-forth affair against the Rangers.

"We played a lot of that game how we wanted to," said Jets captain Blake Wheeler, who scored twice and had a team-leading nine shots on goal against the Rangers.

"We had some good looks down there and spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. Their D was hanging on for dear life at the end there. We just gave up too many good looks in the third to close them out."

Video: PREGAME | JetsTV Road Report @ NJD

Kyle Connor's first of the season, a power play marker with 2:41 into the third period, gave the Jets their first lead of the contest.

But the Rangers would rally back, scoring three unanswered goals to turn a 4-3 Jets lead into a 6-4 Rangers victory.

"There are some things we need to tighten up on," said Nikolaj Ehlers, fresh off a three-assist performance.

"We've got a lot of new players but that's not an excuse. We played a good game. Some bounces were against us and I think if we can continue this and keep improving and getting better, we have a hell of a team."

Ehlers' first assist of the night gave him 200 points for his NHL career. He was a threat all night - as were his line mates Wheeler and Mark Scheifele. 

The trio combined for 21 shots on goal and six points. The first two assists Ehlers picked up were examples of the two parts of his game head coach Paul Maurice says are key to the speedy forward's game.

"If he's skating and he's battling, he's going to get all kinds of opportunities," said Maurice, referencing when Ehlers won a battle along the boards to feed Scheifele in front for the first goal.

The Danish forward followed that up with an assist on a two-on-one break with Wheeler.

"There aren't a lot of people that can skate with Blake," Maurice said. "So that goal happens because he can change gears and Blake can time that. Blake doesn't have to slow down, he knows he can change gears and Nik will stay with him."

The offensive numbers all leaned in the Jets favour - 81 shot attemps, a franchise record 47 shots on goal in a season opener, and a 15-9 edge in high-danger chances at five-on-five.

But they know they have to be better defensively tonight against New Jersey.

"You give up five (goals) - I know there were six (with the empty net goal) - but you give up five, so you can't be bragging about that game either," Maurice said.

Maurice will meet the media at 3:30 pm CT to give updates on tonight's line-up. Puck drop at Prudential Center is set for 6 pm CT.

-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com

Game Notes

The Winnipeg Jets play the second game of a four-game road trip tonight when they face the New Jersey Devils...The Jets opened the trip with a 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers last night...Winnipeg faces the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum Sunday.

Last Game

Oct. 3 at NYR - 6-4 L

Jets Scorers: Scheifele (1), Wheeler (1, 2), Connor (1)

Rangers Scorers: Staal (1), Panarin (1), Trouba (1), Zibanejad (1), Howden (1), Smith (1)

Jets Goaltender: Hellebuyck (26 sv, 5 ga)

Rangers Goaltender: Lundqvist (43 sv, 4 ga)

Jets PP: 1-for-5

Jets PK: 1-for-2

Recap: The Winnipeg Jets traded goals with the New York Rangers last night, but ultimately fell 6-4 in their first game of the season...The Jets came back to tie the game on three occasions and took a 4-3 lead in the third period...Nikolaj Ehlers had three assists for the Jets, while Blake Wheeler scored twice...Andrew Copp won nine of 14 faceoffs (64%).

Three Stars: 1. Zibanejad 2. Trouba 3. Wheeler

VIEW TONIGHT'S GAME NOTES

Facing Eastward

Jets went 18-12-2 against Eastern Conference teams last season, including 11-5-0 against the Metropolitan Division and 7-7-2 against the Atlantic Division...Blake Wheeler (10G, 28A) led the Jets with 38 points in 32 games against the Eastern Conference last season, while Mark Schiefele had 36 points (18G, 18A) in 32 games.

Road Trippin'

The Jets went 8-7-1 in games that were part of a four-game road trip last season...The Jets had four four-game trips and won two games on each trip.

Back-to-Back

The Jets have 10 back-to-back sets this season, beginning tonight against New Jersey...Winnipeg went 6-3-0 in the first game and 5-4-0 in the second game of back-to-backs last season.

Opening Salvo

The Jets had 47 shots last night against the Rangers, which set a franchise record for most shots in a season opener...Winnipeg averaged 31.2 shots last season, which was 20th in the NHL...The previous record was 37 shots, which was accomplished Oct. 4/17 vs. TOR...Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers paced the Jets with nine and eight shots, respectively.

Mr. 200

Nikolaj Ehlers had three assists last night against the Rangers to surpass 200 career points...Now with 202 career points (90G, 112A) with the Jets, Ehlers ranks 11th in franchise scoring...Ehlers' three assists last night tied a career high (Nov. 4/16 at DET).

This is Your Captain Scoring

Blake Wheeler tallied Winnipeg's first multi-goal game of the season last night when he scored twice in the second period...Wheeler had one multi-game last season (4 - Mar. 3/19 at CBJ) after matching a career high with four multi-goal games in 2017-18.

First for Heinola

Defenceman Ville Heinola assisted Blake Wheeler's first goal last night to post his first NHL point in his NHL debut...Heinola was selected by the Jets in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft and joins Jacob Trouba (2013), Kyle Connor (2015), Patrik Laine (2016) and Kristian Vesalainen (2017) as Jets first round picks since relocation that have registered a point in their NHL debut.

How the Jets Were Built

Drafted (14) - Appleton, Connor, Copp, Ehlers, Gustafsson, Heinola, Hellebuyck, Laine, Little, Lowry, Morrissey, Poolman, Scheifele, Roslovic

Trade (3) - Beaulieu, Pionk, Wheeler

Free Agency (6) - Bitetto, Bourque, Brossoit, Kulikov, Letestu, Perreault

Waivers (1) - Dahlstrom

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