Jets-Devils Preview

The Associated Press

The Winnipeg Jets will have to try to start a new road winning streak in what has been a difficult venue for them against a tough goaltender to beat.

The franchise has dropped five straight road games against the New Jersey Devils, who are expected to have Martin Brodeur back in goal Sunday.

Winnipeg (7-9-1) missed a chance for its first four-game road win streak in three seasons Saturday with a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia, where the team had won its previous six visits.

Now the Jets will try for their first victory at the Prudential Center since a 4-2 win as the Atlanta Thrashers on Oct. 16, 2009. They are 0-4-1 in their last five visits to Newark, going 0 for 8 on the power play in those games.

The Devils are 6-1-2 at home this season.

Brodeur will likely start after coach Pete DeBoer decided to give backup Johan Hedberg his fifth start in Saturday's 5-1 loss at Washington.

Extra rest should benefit the 40-year-old Brodeur, who is 5-1-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average in his last seven outings. He has posted a 1.57 GAA in winning his last five starts against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise.

New Jersey (10-4-4) went 3-1-0 against Winnipeg last season, with one victory coming in overtime. Patrik Elias scored in each game and had a team-high six points in the season series for the Devils.

Jets winger Evander Kane enters this meeting on a six-game point streak overall. Kane has scored twice on Brodeur, including his second career tally in his fourth NHL game.

His first-period goal Saturday was part of a strong start in which Winnipeg recorded 12 of the game's first 13 shots. The Jets built a 3-1 second-period lead before faltering.

"It's very disappointing, you have a 3-1 lead in the second, 3-2 in the third and you've got to be able to lock those down," Kane said. "You can't sit back, no matter how many goals you're up in the NHL, because teams can come back and will come back, if you relax and just try to play defense."

The Jets went 0 for 4 on the power play, and have come up empty on 21 chances over their last eight games. Their penalty kill allowed three goals on six opportunities, with the unit regressing to a league-worst 67.9 percent after not yielding a power-play goal in back-to-back games for the first time this season in the previous two contests.

"I thought we played a pretty hard game, if you take the special teams out of the scenario," coach Claude Noel said. "The problem is, is that you can't. The way we'd been working on the penalty killing, the success we've had on the last few games, it was disappointing to see it turn that way."

Devils center Ryan Carter is expected to miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury suffered in Monday's 2-1 shootout loss to Ottawa.

Winger Alexei Ponikarovsky, though, should be in the lineup to face a Jets team that signed him as a free agent last summer but traded him back to the Devils on Feb. 13 after just 12 games.

New Jersey's next game after this one is Thursday's visit to Winnipeg. Before the rematch, the Jets will stay in the area and complete a five-game trip Tuesday against the New York Rangers.

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