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Jack Hughes scores 2, brother Luke has 3 assists as Devils stuns Jets 4-1

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — For one game, the New Jersey Devils finally played like the team that set a franchise record for points last season and opened eyes in the postseason. Unless they keep doing it over the final 12 games of the regular season, they are not getting back to the playoffs.

Jack Hughes scored two of the Devils' three power-play goals, brother Luke Hughes had a career-best three assists and New Jersey stunned red-hot Winnipeg 4-1 on Thursday night in one of their best performances in a disappointing season.

“We played well to say the least,” Devils interim coach Travis Green said after New Jersey won its second straight. "Obviously Winnipeg’s one of the best teams in the league. I thought our guys just played a very structured, organized fast game and played it for 60 minutes.“

That hasn't happened much. New Jersey has not won more than three games in a row all season.

“That was definitely one of our better games, we played really well," Jack Hughes said after raising his goal total to 23 and keeping New Jersey six points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with time running out.

Nico Hischier scored the go-ahead goal on the power play and added two assists. Timo Meier had an empty net goal and two assists, and Jake Allen made 18 saves in winning for the third time in four starts for New Jersey. The Devils also killed off all four Winnipeg power-play chances in ending the Jets' three-game winning streak and handing them their fourth loss in 11 games.

“Special teams won that game tonight for sure,” Hischier said. “Penalty kill was really strong, didn’t panic. I think they had a lot of O-zone time on the power play but we didn’t panic and kept them on the outside.”

Nikolaj Ehlers scored a spectacular goal for the Jets, while Laurent Brossoit made 37 saves in seeing his five-game winning streak snapped.

Hischier snapped a 1-all tie at 5:59 of the third period, deflecting a Meier shot past Brossoit in the waning seconds of a penalty assessed to Dylan DeMelo for tripping Luke Hughes. Jack Hughes extended the lead to 3-1 at 11:52 with a shot from the high slot and Meier iced it with his empty net goal.

Ehlers tied the game at 1-all at 16:47 with a great individual effort on his 21st goal of the season. The Danish forward skated back to his own blue line to retrieve a puck, changed directions and quickly skated through the Devils' defense and beat Allen with a blistering shot from inside the left circle.

“I mean unbelievable," Jet defenseman Brenden Dillon said of the goal. "What can you say more about him? We see him do those all the time for us during the year. He’s got elite level skill with elite level speed. So, it’s amazing what those guys can do.”

Jack Hughes opened the scoring at 9:00 of the second period, putting the rebound of a Hischier shot past Brossoit, who has posted shutouts in his last two starts. The goal came just nine seconds after the Jets were penalized for too many men on the ice.

While the opening period was scoreless, Brossoit stopped Hischier on a breakaway in the opening minutes and Allen responded shortly after that with a stop on Ehlers breaking in alone after being set up by former Devil Tyler Toffoli, who was playing in his 800th NHL game.

UP NEXT

Jets: At New York Islanders on Saturday in four of a five-game road trip.

Devils: Host Ottawa on Saturday in finale of a three-game homestand.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl