NEWARK, NJ- The Jets were looking to get back into the playoff race as they started their longest road trip of the season with six games in fourteen days against some familiar foes from the Eastern Conference and got things rolling with a big 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Goalie Ondrej Pavelec made 25 saves and was once again stellar as he earned his 100th career victory in the NHL and was also named the game’s second star.
“Of course it’s important how you start a road trip, but it’s only one win and we have a lot of hockey in front of us, so we’ve got to focus on the next one,” Pavelec said. “We can take the positives from this game and play the same way the next one.”
The Jets also saw the return of rookie rear guard Jacob Trouba who has been out for the last five weeks with a neck strain , he was a bit rusty but logged just under twenty minutes of ice paired with Grant Clitsome, it was his first game since October 18 .
Winnipeg played a solid sixty minute-game as they had numerous blocked shots and won battles along the walls against the stingy Devils who have come on the last few games.
“I thought we were resilient in holding our position,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. “Some shifts were nerve-wracking. When you get scored upon, you sometimes lose confidence and expect bad things to happen, but we remained composed as minutes wore down from eight to the empty-net goal.
“I thought Pavelec had another really strong game, which is what we need since all our games are fairly close.”
This game wasn’t a very physical one in terms of hits as the Jets only had four hits and the Devils had nine but there was a lot of physical battles in front of the net and in the corners.
The Jets got goals from rookie Mark Scheifele who sniped a beauty for his 2nd of the season it was also his first goal in twenty-four games.
Evander Kane got his 7th of the season to break a ten-game drought, and Devin Setoguchi added his 5th into an empty net.
New Jersey got its lone goal off the stick of Patrik Elias it was his 5th of the year.
“We’ve got to score,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “We scored one goal in San Jose [in a 2-1 loss on Saturday] and one goal [Monday]. That’s a game if we pop two or three in the net and win, we’re feeling great about ourselves.”
Forty-one year-old future hall of famer Jaromir Jagr led the Devils with five shots on goal but was also a minus three on the night with just under twenty minutes of ice time.
Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom led the Jets with twenty-four minutes apiece of ice time and were both a plus three , Byfuglien also had two helpers on the night.
The Jets will travel to play the Islanders on Wednesday night and hope to continue the winning ways.
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