The Jets painted a road-game masterpiece in Ottawa and then threw up all over the canvas in the encore here a night later. The bad news: Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Jersey all pulled further ahead in the Eastern Conference with wins Tuesday night. And the good? Washington and Toronto, two teams directly above the Jets in the standings, both lost.
A stat that continues to be the cold, hard evidence as to the Jets offensive struggles: Tuesday's loss was the 16th game this season in which the club managed to score just one goal or less. Winnipeg, not surprisingly, is 2-14 in those games.
The Devils lead 1-0 after the first and jump ahead 2-zip on a seeing-eye point shot by Petr Sykora past Chris Mason just 92 seconds into the middle frame. And a 2-0 lead against the offensively-challenged Jets essentially put the defensively-sound Devils at the controls the remainder of the game.
Free Press Stars
★ Ilya Kovalchuk, F, N.J. — He did what all snipers do: make the enemy pay when they expose themselves by sticking their head out of the foxhole. Kovalchuk had two goals on three shots.
★★ Patrik Elias, F, N.J. — Honoured before the game for playing in over 1,000 games as a Devil, the veteran forward then lit up the Jets for three points (1G, 2A). He finishes with four goals and two assists in four games against Winnipeg this season.
★★★ Martin Brodeur, G, N.J. — If it wasn’t the easiest of the veteran netminder’s 639 career wins, it’s right up there. Had to stop just 20 shots for the victory.
1. New Jersey, Kovalchuk 18 (Parise) 18:59
Penalty -- Slater Wpg (interference) 5:48.
2. New Jersey, Sykora 11 (Tallinder, Elias) 1:32
3. New Jersey, Clarkson 16 (Elias) 4:48
4. New Jersey, Kovalchuk 19 (Clarkson, Foster) 7:38 (pp)
Penalties -- Kane Wpg (high-sticking) 5:34, Antropov Wpg (elbowing) 7:07, Oduya Wpg (slashing) 12:14.
5. Winnipeg, Enstrom 3 (Antropov, Wellwood) 8:18
6. New Jersey, Elias 17 (Volchenkov, Sykora) 11:31
Penalty -- Zubrus NJ (tripping) 13:08.
Goal (shots-saves) -- Winnipeg: Mason (L,6-4-0)(15-11), Pavelec (8:46 second)(5-4); New Jersey: Brodeur (W,14-10-1).
Power plays (goals-chances) -- Winnipeg: 0-1; New Jersey: 1-4.
Referees -- Ian Walsh, Paul Devorski. Linesmen -- Brian Murphy, Derek Nansen.
Attendance -- 14,129 (17,625).