WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- A stronger attack resulted in the Winnipeg Jets putting up a defensive fortress.
The Jets allowed just 24 shots to the New Jersey Devils in a 3-0 win Sunday night at the MTS Centre.
Winnipeg goalie Al Montoya was sharp while recording the shutout in his first action of the season. In the moments before Winnipeg left wing Evander Kane opened the scoring early in the second period, Montoya made a pad save on Devils right winger Michael Ryder during a New Jersey five-on-three power play.
Montoya benefited from an inspired effort from the defense in front of him. The Jets entered the game allowing an average of 33.8 shots against with No. 1 goalie Ondrej Pavelec in net, but they made life a little simpler for the backup, who is in his second season with the Jets.
"The team was communicating with me and really letting me see the puck," Montoya said. "It's forwards coming back to help out the (defensemen), (defensemen) coming back to help out the goalie. Selflessness out there -- that's what we want our identity to be."
Kane provided the bulk of the offense for Winnipeg. He scored his second goal of the season 2:57 into the middle period after blazing past Devils defenseman Adam Larsson before his centering pass deflected in off New Jersey defender Andy Greene, eluding goalie Cory Schneider.
Kane added an empty-net goal with 57 seconds to go to give the Jets a sense of comfort before left winger Andrew Ladd tapped home a Michael Frolik rebound 20 seconds later to cement Winnipeg's win.
Kane said the Jets' relatively stingy defensive game was the direct result of a strong attack.
"When you play in the other team's zone, you're going to get less shots against," Kane said. "That was a key part -- pressuring them and not giving them time and space to attack us and abuse us in our own end."
Jets head coach Claude Noel said his club played a much more impressive game after three lackadaisical losses to Anaheim, Minnesota and Dallas.
"We were a lot stronger and I think we felt a lot more comfortable," Noel said. "We're going to be able to take a lot of good things out of it."
Schneider, who was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks for the ninth overall pick when the Devils hosted the NHL draft in June, was strong between New Jersey's pipes, making 32 saves. Schneider called the MTS Centre home from 2007 to 2010 when he posted an 84-45-5 record for the AHL's Manitoba Moose, Vancouver's top affiliate at the time.
The 27-year-old also took the loss in his return to Vancouver on Oct. 8, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Canucks.
Schneider was disappointed with the third period in particular, calling it New Jersey's biggest of the year. He also said the margin of the loss, all in all, was razor thin.
"They got the bounce to get the winning goal, and we didn't. We've just got to find a way," Schneider said of Kane's goal that he said hit his stick before deflecting off Greene. "I was good tonight, but he just made that one extra save."
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador said even though the team has had a rough start to the season, he's confident New Jersey can rebound in the long run.
"I think what's important here is not to get discouraged. One win and we're back close to the top of our division. We have to keep that in perspective," said the New Jersey captain.
NOTES: Jets D Dustin Byfuglien recorded his 100th assist with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday. Byfuglien entered Sunday's game with 154 assists for his career. ... Now winless through six games, the New Jersey franchise never previously began a season without a win in its first five games. ... Montoya recorded a 3-1-0 record with a shutout in seven appearances with Winnipeg in 2012-13. ... The Devils are 15-7-4 in road games against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise, and they have a 30-14-8 all-time record against the Thrashers/Jets. ... The game was the second of a season-high six-game homestand for Winnipeg. The Jets next host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. ... The game was the fourth of a season-long, five-game road trip for New Jersey. The Devils wrap the tour in Ottawa on Thursday night.