Jets drop 3-2 OT decision

Winnipeg Jets right wing Tim Stapleton (14) crashes into Ondrej Pavelec as he tries to block New...

Winnipeg Jets right wing Tim Stapleton (14) crashes into Ondrej Pavelec as he tries to block New Jersey Devils center Rod Pelley (10) in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Newark, New Jersey, November 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

Ken Wiebe, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:55 AM ET

NEWARK - On a night when nothing seemed to be going their way through 45 minutes, the Winnipeg Jets forged on and found a semblance of a reward.

When you go into your fifth tilt of a seven-game road trip without five of your top seven defencemen and your leading scorer is a late scratch because of an injury of his own, you’ll have to excuse the Jets for taking at least some solace from the fact they found a way to steal a point from the New Jersey Devils after a 3-2 overtime loss on Saturday night before an announced crowd of 14,952 at Prudential Center on Saturday night.

They weren’t thrilled about it mind you, but also realize the value of digging deep to pick up the point when they could have easily gone away empty-handed.

Facing a 2-0 deficit after 40 minutes of play, the Jets refused to settle for the built-in excuse that this just might be their night against a stingy defensive club and instead rallied to score twice to get to extra time.

“A lot of teams when they’re down 2-0 going into the third against the New Jersey Devils, they don’t have much success,” said Jets centre Jim Slater. “We ended up sticking with the system and ended up getting two goals in the third. We showed a lot of poise out there to get that big point that we needed. It’s unfortunate we lost in overtime.”

It was Slater who scored the equalizer at 17:15 of the third period, ripping a shot past Martin Brodeur after some strong work by Blake Wheeler to help spring the puck loose after Mark Flood’s point shot looked to go straight up in the air and got lost in the lights before finally coming down from the rafters.

Adam Henrique took advantage of a neutral-zone misplay and showcased his blazing speed before beating Ondrej Pavelec in tight for his second goal of the game at 1:28 of the extra session to give the Devils the victory.

It was a typical, grind-it-out victory for the Devils, who constantly test opponent’s patience and feed off the type of mistakes the Jets made on this night.

“There was going to be no easy way for us to get this thing done,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel. “Whether you wanted to change your forechecking tactics or whatever, it was going to be a greasy game, which it was. You were going to have to get pucks to the net and hope things change.

“We got a couple of breaks and they went in the net. I liked the fact we continued to push forward in the game.”

Pushing forward when you’re not at your best is important for a team that seems to be finding its collective mojo.

After relying on their goalie to steal one against the New York Islanders, the Jets were looking to get back to .500 with a win.

While that will have to wait at least one more day, a late rally gives the Jets reason to stay confident.

“That’s a huge point for us,” said Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian. “This road trip is getting long and we’re battling every night to get those crucial points. There are a lot of positives you can pull out of this.”

The next challenge is to find a way to play better against the New York Rangers, who are on a hot streak of their own after winning a third consecutive game on Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

Flight recorder

New Jersey Devils (6-5-1) vs. Winnipeg Jets (5-6-2)

3 - 2 (OT)

THE THREE STARS

1. Devils F Adam Henrique — The rookie — and former Windsor Spitfires centre — scores a pair of goals, including the overtime winner.

2. Jets D Mark Flood — The recent call-up provides a goal — his first in the NHL — and an assist.

3. Jets F Jim Slater — Scored the late goal to force overtime and came through with several important blocked shots in this one.

THE SKINNY

The Jets overcome a two-goal deficit in the third period to pick up a point, but were unable to turn it into two because of a blunder that allowed Adam Henrique to walk in all alone for his second breakaway goal of the contest.

REPORT CARD

FORWARDS: C+

Producing two goals has been about average on many nights for this group, but we’ll upgrade the evaluation thanks to a late marker from Jim Slater that extended the game. He’s been clutch this season.

DEFENCE: C+

We understand the Jets are playing without five of their top seven blue-liners and realize that’s a momentous challenge but three breakdowns led to a pair of breakaways and a 2-on-1 rush, all of which ended up in the back of their net. Got a goal from Mark Flood that helped fuel the comeback.

GOALTENDING: C+

Making his fifth consecutive start, Ondrej Pavelec was steady but not spectacular, though it’s hard to find fault with the goals he allowed — the two breakaways to Henrique and the one-time blast from Patrik Elias.

UP NEXT

The Jets continue a season-long seven-game road trip on Sunday night with a 6:05 p.m. (TSN Jets, TSN 1290) start against the New York Rangers.


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