NEWARK, N.J. -- Patrik Elias scored his second deciding shootout goal in the past three games, and Johan Hedberg
made three big saves in the shootout as the New Jersey Devils
defeated the Winnipeg Jets
3-2 in a closely contested and relatively clean contest Sunday night at the Prudential Center.
There were only two penalties called in the entire game, one against each team.
The Devils (12-9-5) remained in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Jets (12-11-2) are still in ninth place.
After New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk
and David Clarkson fired unsuccessful shots in the shootout, Elias decided the contest with a backhand shot that slid through the pads of Jets goalkeeper Ondrej Pavelec
Elias also had the winner in the Devils' shootout win Thursday night against the visiting Buffalo Sabres.
Hedberg stopped shootout attempts by Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane
and Andrew Ladd.
Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta had a goal each first-period goals for the Devils.
Mark Stuart and Kane scored for the Jets.
Pavelec made 25 saves, with Hedberg made 23 stops.
In overtime, the Devils had a great chance. Clarkson, in the midst of an 11-game scoring drought, took advantage of a poor line change and unleashed a wrist shot that Pavelec smothered.
With just five seconds left in overtime, Kane took a hard wrist shot that Hedberg caught with his glove, sending the game to the shootout.
The Jets, looking for their third victory in a four-game road trip, had the better scoring chances in the third period.
Midway through the period, Olli Jokinen fired a low wrist shot that Hedberg stopped with his right pad.
Later in the third period, big Dustin Byfuglien, known as the "Jumbo Jet," unleashed a monstrous slap shot on which Hedberg made a pad save with his right leg with 4:49 left.
In the closing seconds, Kane lifted a backhand attempt that skipped through the crease.
The Devils had a rare thing happen for them. They scored the game's first goal. It had been nine games since New Jersey tallied the first goal of the game, but the Devils, asserting themselves early by putting a lot of pressure and pucks on Pavelec, finally got a benefit from their hard work.
Midway through the period, with the Devils already holding a 9-1 advantage in shots on goal, a dump-in from defenseman Anton Volchenkov took a weird bounce off the boards right to Travis Zajac. The struggling Zajac, who has gone seven games without a goal, had two shots at Pavelec before Carter's backhand snuck past Pavelec at the 8:47 mark.
The Devils kept the pressure on, scoring again just 1:25 after Carter's goal. The diminutive Gionta took a pass from Ilya Kovalchuk and skated in on Pavelec, putting a wrist shot between the goaltender's pads for a 2-0 lead at the 10:12 mark. It was Gionta's third goal of the season.
The Jets received a huge break with 3:43 left in the first period. Stuart dumped a pass in front of the goal that deflected off Devils defenseman Andy Greene's stick and past Hedberg for a goal that sliced the lead in half. A dejected Greene patted Hedberg on the head as to apologize for the mistake.
The Devils dominated the opening period yet had only a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
Wheeler had Winnipeg's best scoring chance of the second period, when he skated past two Devils defenders to fire a wrist shot that bounced off Hedberg's shoulder and into the protective netting behind the goal.
Kane had another good chance for the Jets, but his backhand attempt was swiped aside by Hedberg, using his stick.
Pavelec made two incredible saves in the same sequence, one on a hard wrist shot by Bryce Salvador and another on a Steve Bernier shot from point-blank range.
Soon after, the Jets tied the game as Kane skated in and fired a wrist shot to the high right side of Hedberg with 2:41 left in the second period. The Devils' solid start was wiped away with Kane's game-tying score, his 10th of the season. Kane scored the game-winning goal in the Jets' 5-2 win over the Devils on Feb. 24.
The Jets almost grabbed the lead in the closing seconds when Kyle Wellwood's blast hit the right post, a shot that Hedberg never saw.
NOTES: Sunday's game marked the ninth straight game that the Devils played without future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, currently on the injured list with a bad back. Hedberg has started all nine and has struggled for the most part, including allowing five goals in the loss to Carolina on Saturday night. Hedberg has won only two of the games he has started in Brodeur's absence, and he'd allowed 28 goals in the eight games prior to Sunday. ... Defenseman Mark Fayne and rookie forward Stefan Matteau were healthy scratches for New Jersey. Defenseman Henrik Tallinder missed his third straight game with an upper body injury. ... Captain Bryce Salvador, who missed the loss to Carolina Saturday with an upper body injury, did dress and appeared ready to play. ... The Jets entered the game having killed off the last 21 penalties against them over a span of seven games, which includes killing off two 5-on-3 disadvantages. ... Ondrej Pavelec, who started the prior two games against New Jersey this season, was in goal again Sunday night. ... The Jets had scored the first goal of the game in their prior three games on the current road trip.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Johan Hedberg
- Winnipeg Jets
- New Jersey Devils
- Ondrej Pavelec
- Evander Kane