Skip to main content

Special teams lead Jets past Devils

by Dan Rosen

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, who are 1-4-2 in their last seven games and may have cause for concern over the health of Martin Brodeur.

The veteran goalie had to pull himself out of the starting lineup Sunday due to soreness in his back and is expected to be re-evaluated Monday. Johan Hedberg made 23 saves in replace of Brodeur.

"We've probably played better, but we got goals at key times that energized our group," Jets captain Andrew Ladd said. "Our third period, I thought we did a great job of putting pucks deep and making them work to get the full 200 feet."

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 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.

"It's not easy to win on the road in this League. You've gotta play a simple game and guys have to step up," Ladd said. "It's been nice so far. We've got another one to go and we'd sure like to finish it off with a win."

The Devils' woeful penalty kill continues to sink them. It has yielded 13 goals on 32 chances over the past nine games, including eight on 17 shorthanded chances in the past five games.

New Jersey has also scored only eight goals in its past five games. Travis Zajac and Steve Bernier scored in the first period Sunday to give the Devils a 2-1 lead that they ultimately could not hold.

"There's always cause for concern, but am I concerned? No," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think every team is going to go through adversity. We know how to handle that. We know we're going to come out the other end of it. We just have to stick with it.

"You look around the League and these situations are happening to just about everybody but the Chicago Blackhawks, and I'm sure they'll get theirs eventually."

Winnipeg erased a one-goal deficit to take a 3-2 lead into second intermission on goals by Clitsome and Kane. Ladd gave the Jets the insurance goal they needed with a laser of a shot from the left circle 7:46 into the third period.

From there, the Jets went into lockdown mode. They gave up only four more shots on goal and were credited with four blocks over the final 12:14.

Winnipeg allowed only five shots on goal in the third period and didn't commit a penalty. The Flyers came back to beat the Jets on Saturday with a pair of power-play goals in the third period.

"We stayed out of the box, which was key," Ladd said. "That was the difference between the Philly game and this game. We gave [the Flyers] opportunities to get back in the game. The best penalty kill is when you're not taking penalties so I thought we did a great job with that."

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. Zidlicky said he thought it should have been either a penalty on Hainsey or a good goal, but no penalty was called and it was ruled a no-goal.

De Boer said he did not receive an explanation from the officials.

"If you're going to put yourself at the mercy of the referees late in the game then that's your own fault," DeBoer said. "I think we put ourselves inthat spot. It is what it is."

The Jets built their lead on second-period goals from 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, which turned out to be the game-winner, was simply a thing of beauty.

He blocked Adam Larsson's shot-pass attempt from the right point and then broke up the ice when he saw the puck go to Alexander Burmistrov. Burmistrov tapped the puck up to Kane, giving him a chance to pick up speed before he picked up the puck.

"He made a great play to lay it out there for me to catch up to the puck and I was able to do that," Kane said.

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.

"We make a poor decision at the blue line with the puck and he's one of the fastest guys in the League," DeBoer said. "So, I mean, if he gets a step onyou you're not going to catch him."

Although it doesn't show up on the scoresheet, Kane also chipped in on Clitsome's game-tying power-play goal by getting in front of Hedberg to provide a screen. Jets coach Claude Noel said prior to the game that the key to getting their power play turned around was net-front presence.

"Getting one [power-play goal] sometimes helps out, gets the ball rolling," Ladd said. "Hopefully it's the first of many because it's such a key part of the game and it can be the difference in such close games."


View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.