There are nights when the Winnipeg Jets find a way to lose. Then there are nights when the Jets look downright unbeatable. Sunday night was one of those unbeatable nights.
Evander Kane scored the eventual winning goal while Andrew Ladd scored the insurance goal, his 10th of the year, as the Jets beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 in Newark on Sunday.
Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Grant Clitsome scored the other Jets goals while Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves to get the win.
It was a tremendous effort by the Jets and one that made the often confusing Winnipeg team look like it could be a legitimate contender if it ever set its collective mind to it. In fact, Bogosian had an outstanding game; the line of Ladd, Brian Little and Blake Wheeler looked almost unstoppable; Alexander Burmistov offten looked like the best player on the team (as he has for much of this recent road trip) and Kane played with fire and determination.
On top of all that, Clitsome broke the Jets surprisingly-bad 0-for-21 streak on the power play with, you guessed it, a power play goal.
“Getting a road win in this building is never easy,” Noel told TSN 1290 after the game. “It’s really unbelievable. This team is resilient. They’ve faced adversity all year.
“There’s a quiet confidence right now. For some reason, we’re finding ways to score. I think it’s part of maturity and growth. We went through a lot of struggles on the road last year. We understand now what it takes to win on the road.”
The Jets won in New Jersey for the first time since 2009, but this time, the team looked dominant in its performance. In fact, the longer you watched the game, the more you got the sense the Jets couldn’t possibly lose. they controlled their own end, plus the neutral zone and goaltender Pavelec was as solid as he has been all season.
On the down side, Antti Mietinen and Dustin Byfuglien were banged up during the game. They are both day-to-day.
With the win in Jersey, the Jets have now won three of four on their current five-game road trip and improved to 8-9-1 on the season, good enough to remain in second place in the Southeast Division, two points back of Tampa and Carolina.
By the way, Winnipeg’s Travis Zajac scored one of the New Jersey goals.
The Jets were 7-9-1 heading into Sunday’s game while the Devils were 10-4-1. There was no reason to believe the Jets should have won that game, except that as the evening progressed, there was no reason to believe the Devils were as good a team as Winnipeg.
“I think this win was huge,” Bogosian told TSN 1290. “Any time you come up big on the road and get a win against a good team, it’s big, especially in a shortened season, when teams are going to experience their ups and downs.
“We were in a funk for a while and we’ve come out of it on the road. It was a good team effort.”
The Jets will wrap up their five-game road swing tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden in New York against the New York Rangers, 6 p.m. on TSN. The Jets will return home to play Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils.