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(Thursday, February 28th)
Final Score: Winnipeg 3, New Jersey 1
Winnipeg, MB (Sports Network) - Andrew Ladd netted a pair of goals, including the go-ahead marker with 8:01 left to play, as the surging Winnipeg Jets came through with a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at MTS Centre.
Ladd also assisted on Blake Wheeler's empty-net clincher with 35.8 seconds left, and tied a franchise record by scoring eight seconds after the opening faceoff to help Winnipeg stay hot in its return home following a 4-1-0 road trip that included a 4-2 triumph over the Devils on Sunday.
"I was happy that we got the win and it was certainly a hard game to get the win," said Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel. "We had some guys working really hard out there tonight and I thought we managed things really well."
Ondrej Pavelec did his part as well, with the Jets goaltender turning back 22- of-23 shots in a sharp performance between the pipes.
While the Jets remained on a roll, the Devils continued to slump after suffering their third straight defeat and falling to 1-4-1 over their last six outings.
Andrei Loktionov accounted for the lone New Jersey goal, with Johan Hedberg stopping 18-of-20 chances in the setback.
"We're a team that always comes back hard and we'll come back from this," said Hedberg.
Dual penalties by Winnipeg's Nik Antropov and the Devils' Steve Bernier, ruled to have taken a dive on a cross-check by the Jets forward, with 8:21 remaining created a 4-on-4 situation in which Winnipeg benefited from the more open space.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien rushed all the way up ice from behind his own net before attempting a wraparound shot that New Jersey's Marek Zidlicky got a stick on. A trailing Ladd, however, was there to tap in the loose puck past Hedberg and break the 1-1 deadlock.
Pavelec and his protectors were able to prevent the Devils from generating any serious scoring chances the rest of the way, and the game was over once Wheeler collected a puck Ladd fired off the left boards and eluded a defender before sending it into the vacated net with time winding down.
Winnipeg started strong in addition to finishing well. After Brian Little won the game's opening faceoff, Ladd outraced Zidlicky to chase down a puck dumped by Zach Bogosian and got in alone on Hedberg before putting home the fastest goal the Devils have ever surrendered in their existence.
While the Jets controlled the action in the first period, New Jersey was the stronger team in the second and recorded the only goal of the frame courtesy of Loktionov, who picked up a head of steam up the right side before snapped a shot through Pavelec's legs 3:05 into the session.
Ronald Petrovicky set the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers' franchise record for the fastest goal at Pittsburgh on Dec. 20, 2003, with Kyle Wellwood matching that mark against the Penguins on Oct. 17, 2011 ... The Jets have now scored the first goal in seven consecutive games, the second-longest streak in the NHL this season. Washington did it in eight straight from Feb. 7-26 ... Pavelec became the Jets/Thrashers' all-time leader in games played by a goalie with his 205th appearance, breaking a tie he had shared with Kari Lehtonen ... Devils center Travis Zajac, a Winnipeg native, competed for the first time as an NHL player in his home city. He had missed New Jersey's two visits to the MTS Centre last season due to injury ... Loktionov has two goals and a pair of assists during a four-game point streak ... Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder appeared in his 600th NHL game.
03/01 00:26:06 ET
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