Devils-Jets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 27, 2013
The Winnipeg Jets' impressive road trip included a win over the New Jersey Devils. Now, they'll try to carry that success back to their own ice and avoid their longest home skid in over four years. Evander Kane goes for the longest point streak of his career as the Jets attempt to beat the Devils for the second time in less than a week Thursday night. Winnipeg (9-9-1) turned in an unexpected 4-1-0 road trip after losing seven of its previous nine, which included a four-game slide at home. The team hasn't endured a longer home losing streak since dropping seven straight as the Atlanta Thrashers from Nov. 20-Dec. 18, 2008. The Jets seem poised to end the skid after capping their recent trip Tuesday with a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers, two days after a 4-2 win over New Jersey (10-5-4). "We knew we needed to play well and produce," coach Claude Noel said. "What's helped us is that we've managed the puck a little bit better, we've played the right way. I think we got some timely goals at timely times. "We've got a lot of production from a lot of people." Winnipeg had 14 players get at least a point, while eight scored goals during the trip. Kane continues to lead the way with 18 points on the season, including six goals and four assists in a career high-tying eight-game point streak. The left wing has goals in four straight games, tallying a pair against the Rangers while setting up one of Olli Jokinen's two goals. "I've been feeling good the last 10, 12 games," Kane said. "The legs are there right now." He's scored three goals over the past four meetings with the Devils, getting one Sunday. Andrew Ladd notched his team-leading 10th goal in that game, and also scored in a 2-1 loss in the most recent meeting at MTS Centre on Jan. 14, 2012. While the Jets went from Newark to Manhattan, New Jersey has been idle since Sunday before embarking on this three-game road trip. The Devils, losers of four of five, won't have Martin Brodeur for at least the first two games after a sore back landed him on injured reserve, retroactive to Sunday. He's already missed two games - both losses - so Johan Hedberg will likely continue to be called upon with rookie Keith Kinkaid acting as his backup. Hedberg, though, has lost three straight starts with a 4.75 goals-against average, making 23 saves against the Jets earlier this week. He also lost his only appearance in Winnipeg as a member of the Devils on Dec. 3, 2011, stopping 16 shots while allowing two goals to Kane in a 4-2 defeat. Travis Zajac will be playing his first game in his hometown of Winnipeg, where he grew up as a Jets fan. He missed all four meetings last season, including both visits, due to a torn left Achilles' tendon. "I had a few," Zajac told the team's official website of owning jerseys as a kid. "I probably had a (Dale) Hawerchuk one ... Thomas Steen. I just remember going to his hockey camps when I was younger in Winnipeg. That was kind of cool. I was a big (Teemu) Selanne fan, too, obviously." The center scored against the Jets on Sunday, giving him four goals in three games against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise. Linemate David Clarkson leads the Devils with 10 goals, but he hasn't scored in five straight games and the two visits to Winnipeg last season.
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