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The Sports Xchange, Published November 25 2013

Jets snap skid with win over Devils

NEWARK, N.J. – The Winnipeg Jets embarked on a six-game road trip as losers of four straight, so it was important to get off on the right foot against the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.

Thanks largely to goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, the Jets were able to do just that.

Pavelec made 24 saves as the Jets staved off a late push and survived with a 3-1 victory at the Prudential Center. He has allowed two goals or fewer in five of his past six starts. In his first 15 starts, he held opponents to two goals or fewer only four times.

“He’s always good,” Jets left wing Evander Kane, who scored the winning goal in the second period, said of Pavelec. “The last three or four years, he’s been our best player most nights and if not, always in the top three. He’s always great and keeps us in a lot of games.”

After a first period in which he faced just five shots, Pavelec stopped 18 of 19 over the final two periods. Devils left wing Patrik Elias cut the Jets’ lead to 2-1 with 9 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the third period, but Pavelec shut the door the rest of the way.

Jets right wing Devin Setoguchi capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 27.1 seconds remaining. But it was essentially a one-goal win, which is significant for the Jets. They had lost four straight entering their game against the Devils and had dropped three of those games by one goal.

“I think the sacrifices are part of it,” said Jets coach Claude Noel, whose team blocked 14 shots. “But that’s the way it’s going to go. They’re going to press. They pressed up on the boards. But I thought we were resilient in holding our position. We had some shifts that were really nerve-wracking.”

Winnipeg 1 1 1— 3

New Jersey 0 0 1— 1

First Period—1, Winnipeg, Scheifele 2 (Frolik, Byfuglien) 16:01.

Second Period—2, Winnipeg, Kane 7 (Jokinen) 7:16. Penalties—Byfuglien, WIN (Holding), 3:34; Ladd, WIN (Interference), 9:35; Zubrus, NJ (Tripping), 12:29; Gelinas, NJ (Kneeing), 17:31.

Third Period—3, New Jersey, Elias 5 (Greene, Bernier) 10:44. 4, Winnipeg, Setoguchi 5 (Little, Byfuglien) 19:32 (en).

Shots on Goal—Winnipeg 8-8-6—22. New Jersey 7-10-9—26.

Power-play opportunities—Winnipeg 0 of 2. New Jersey 0 of 2.

Goalies—Winnipeg Pavelec 9-9-3 (26 shots-25 saves). New Jersey Brodeur 7-5-2 (21-19).

A—12,253 (17,625). T—2:19. Referees—Dan O’Halloran, Dean Morton. Linesmen—Brian Murphy, Jay Sharrers.