NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, February 24th
(All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (7-9-1) at New Jersey Devils (10-4-4), 5 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils aim to rebound from a lopsided loss
when they host the Winnipeg Jets for Sunday's battle at Prudential Center.
New Jersey split a two-game series in Washington, beating the Capitals by a
3-2 score on Thursday before getting routed 5-1 in Saturday's rematch at the
Verizon Center. It was a rare two-game series as a quirk in the shortened
schedule forced the teams to play consecutively in the same city.
Alex Ovechkin scored two of Washington's four third-period goals to complete
his 11th career hat trick and lead the Capitals to the lopsided victory. For
the Devils it was their fourth loss in six games, a slump that comes directly
on the heels of a season-best five-game winning streak.
Johan Hedberg got the start in net for the Devils after Martin Brodeur won two
nights ago and made 21 saves in defeat. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone goal
for New Jersey, which is 1-2-1 in its last four.
"You have to give (Ovechkin) credit. We know what kind of player he is and if
you let him execute, he's going to hurt you and he did," said Hedberg.
The score was tied at 1-1 after two periods and the shots also were even at
15-15, but Washington steamrolled the Devils in the third period.
"I think after two (periods), we had played a decent road game," said Devils
coach Pete DeBoer. "We had some opportunities. I thought we carried the
chances in the second period and was hoping for another push in the third, and
we didn't get that."
The Devils played both games in Washington without forward Ryan Carter, who is
dealing with a head injury. He is considered day-to-day and is questionable
New Jersey will play its next two games against Winnipeg, but this isn't a
home-and-home series because the Jets visit the New York Rangers before
hosting the Devils on Thursday.
The Devils took three of four from the Jets in 2011-12 and Jersey has
dominated the recent series against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. New Jersey
has claimed six of seven and nine of the past 11 encounters and the Jets have
dropped five in a row and eight of 11 in the Garden State.
Brodeur is expected to start Sunday. The future Hall of Famer is 25-8-5 with
three ties and a 2.10 goals against average in 42 career games against the
Winnipeg had won the first two tests on its five-game road trip before losing
Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. The Jets led the contest by a 3-1 score in
the second period, but the Flyers notched the final four goals of the game to
earn a 5-3 decision.
Evander Kane scored for the Jets and has recorded a point in six straight
games, registering three goals and three assists during that span.
Olli Jokinen and Alex Burmistrov also scored for the Jets, who have dropped
four of their last six games overall. Ondrej Pavelec yielded four scores on 38
shots in defeat.
The Jets went 0-for-4 on the power play and allowed Philadelphia to score
three times on six chances with the man advantage. Winnipeg has failed to
score a power-play goal over its last eight games, going a combined 0-for-21
during that stretch.
"I thought we played a pretty hard game if you take the special teams out of
the scenario," said Jets head coach Claude Noel. "In the areas where the puck
wasn't in a tough area to defend, we gave up pressure in areas where don't
normally pressure and they came right back on our net off the rush. I'm
disappointed to say the least."
The Jets will complete their five-game road trip Tuesday in New York before
returning home to face the Devils.
New Jersey is 6-1-2 as the host this season, while the Jets are 4-4-1 as the
02/24 10:40:13 ET