Feb 28, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Ladd (16) pushes in a lose puck past New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg (1) scoring Winnipeg their second goal of the night. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Devils Struggles Continue; Fall 3-1 To Jets

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - The New Jersey Devils took on the Winnipeg Jets tonight for the home-and-home series finale. The Devils lost the first game 4-2 in Newark, N.J.

Things did not start off as planned for the Devils as Winnipeg scored eight seconds into the game. The goal came from Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd who got a breakaway after Marek Zidlicky over committed to one side of the ice.

This was the fastest the Devils have ever allowed a goal to start a game. The previous record was 10 seconds which came against Washington in 1990.

The Devils were entering today just 2-4-2 after allowing the first goal of the game.

The Devils tightened up defensively after that, but could not figure out anything offensively in the first period as they only registered five shots on goal and failed to convert on a power play.

The Devils got a goal on the board early in the second when Andrei Loktionov scored his second of the year.

Feb 28, 2013; Winnipeg, MB, CAN; New Jersey Devils forward Andrei Loktionov (21) avoids Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) during the first period at the MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

But things went stagnant from there. Neither team could get anything to go in until Andrew Ladd scored his second of the night at 11:39 in the third period. The goal came during a four-on-four as Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien skated the length of the ice and threw it in front of a scrambling Johan Hedberg. Ladd tapped it in easily to give Winnipeg their second lead of the game.

Blake Wheeler scored Winnipeg’s third goal on an empty net with 36 seconds left in the game. The goal gave Ladd an assist and his third point of the game.

The loss continues the Devils three game losing streak and offensive drought. In the last five games the Devils have only scored more than two goals once and have scored only nine in that time (1.8 Goals per game).

The Bright Side:

Loktionov’s goal extended his point streak to four games (2 goals, 2 assists).

Henrik Tallinder played his 600th career NHL game tonight.

The Devils killed three out of three penalties they faced tonight. The penalty kill has been a weak spot for the Devils as they allowed 13 goals in 32 chances during the last nine games before tonight.

Travis Zajac had his homecoming tonight as he played his first ever NHL game in his hometown Winnipeg tonight. Zajac grew up as a Jets fan and was unable to play there last season as he recovered from his Achilles surgery.

The Devils try to reassert themselves as one of the NHL’s best and try to snap the losing streak as they face the Buffalo Sabres, Saturday at 3:00 in Buffalo. The Sabres have one of the highest goals against average per game in the NHL with 3.19.

Hopefully the Devils will give rookie goaltender Keith Kinkaid the start on Saturday. Kinkaid has been looked at as the successor of future hall-of-famer Martin Brodeur.

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Tags: New Jersey Devils Winnipeg Jets

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