NEWARK, N.J. – Winnipeg Jets coach Claude Noel has no explanation for his team’s recent road success.
He isn’t complaining about it, either.
Evander Kane scored a breakaway goal in the second period, and Andrew Ladd added some insurance in the third to lift the Jets over the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Sunday.
Zach Bogosian scored in the first period, and Grant Clitsome had a power-play goal in the second for the Jets, who have won three of the first four of a five-game trip that concludes Tuesday in New York against the Rangers. Ondrej Pavelec made 26 saves.
“Getting a road win in this building is never easy,” said Noel, whose team won in New Jersey for the first time since 2009. “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.”
After trailing 2-1 after the first period, the Jets (8-9-1) scored three unanswered goals.
Clitsome scored to tie the game, and Kane and Ladd added goals to seal the win.
Kane’s goal was the backbreaker for the Devils.
“We made a poor decision at the blue line with the puck,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said of Adam Larsson’s cross-ice pass intercepted by Kane. “He’s perhaps the fastest guy in the league. If you give him a step, you’re not going to stop him.”
Devils goalie Johan Hedberg came way out of the crease and dived to try to stop Kane, but Kane backhanded his seventh of the season with 2:12 left.
“After I deflected it, I just took off,” Kane said. “I knew that they couldn’t get to me. It was just a matter of me getting the goal. I guess I made a nice play.”
Ladd added his 10th goal of the season in the third period to ice the victory.
“We’re playing better now and getting goals at key times,” Ladd said. “Confidence is a big thing. We got the one goal on the power play and that just got things rolling.
“We went through a little tough stretch before this trip. Maybe we need a few more road games. Our guys have learned out to step up and finish things off like this one.”
Bogosian got the Jets going with his first goal of the season.
“I think this win was huge,” Bogosian said. “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.”
Pavelec earned his sixth win of the season.
Travis Zajac and Steve Bernier had goals for New Jersey, but the Devils (10-5-4) lost their fourth in five games and their second at home this season. Hedberg, a late-minute replacement for Martin Brodeur, stopped 23 shots.
Brodeur left the ice in pregame warmups because of “a little soreness,” the Devils said.
After the game, Brodeur said he was having back pains for the last few days. He will be examined further on Monday.
“I thought I would be able to play, but I just didn’t feel right,” Brodeur said.
The Jets took a 1-0 lead for the sixth straight game, just 2:30 in when Bogosian scored off a smart play from Blake Wheeler, who carried the puck into the zone and drew both Devils defencemen to him. He stopped and spotted Bogosian, who fired a shot past Hedberg.
New Jersey tied it with 10:08 left in the first when Patrik Elias made a fine pass on a 2-on-1 rush to Zajac, who slid the puck past the outstretched Pavelec.
The Devils took a 2-1 lead with 2:50 remaining in the first when Andrei Loktionov fired a shot that Pavelec stopped, but Bernier was there to bounce in the rebound for his fifth goal.
The Jets tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal with seven minutes left in the second. Clitsome skated in untouched to the right of the net and fired a high wrist shot that deflected in off Hedberg’s glove, setting up the go-ahead goal from Kane and the insurance goal from Ladd.
The Devils had a goal wiped off when Marek Zidlicky fired a shot past a sprawled Pavelec, but play had already been stopped by a whistle.
DeBoer was asked if he was concerned with his team’s recent slide.
“There’s always cause for concern, but no, I’m not concerned,” DeBoer said. “Every team has to go through adversity. We just have to stick with it. These situations seem to happen to everyone except the Chicago Blackhawks.
“When you’re losing, you’re not comfortable with the entire group. I’d say we’re not as bad as we’ve been over the last six games and perhaps we weren’t as good as we were in the first seven.”
NOTES: The Devils placed LW Ryan Carter on the injured list and recalled C Jacob Josefson from Albany of the AHL. Carter has been out a week after he hit his head hard against the boards. Rookie LW Stefan Matteau also sat out. DeBoer said the 19-year-old Matteau is “a little banged up.” … Jets RW Antii Miettenen sustained a lower body injury in the first period and didn’t return.