October 5, 2019 / 2:12 AM / 18 days ago

Jets escape 4-goal hole, stun Devils in shootout

EditorsNote: Minor edits for clarity

Oct 4, 2019; Newark, NJ, USA; Fans enter the gates prior to the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Winnipeg Jets at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Wheeler scored the winner in the fourth round of a shootout, and the visiting Winnipeg Jets rallied from a four-goal deficit to beat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 on Friday night in Newark, N.J.

The Jets’ comeback spoiled the Devils’ season opener.

Neal Pionk and Mathieu Perreault each added a goal and an assist, and Laurent Brossoit made 35 saves as Winnipeg recorded a stunning victory. The Jets, coming off a 6-4 season-opening loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday, scored three times in the third period to force overtime and ultimately the shootout.

Dmitry Kulikov and Jack Roslovic also tallied for the Jets.

Blake Coleman scored twice, and Nikita Gusev and Sami Vatanen each had a goal as New Jersey built a 4-0 lead with 6:08 left in the second period. But Kulikov got the Jets within 4-1 on a goal with 10.3 seconds left in the second to turn the momentum.

Roslovic scored 2:41 into the third to make it 4-2. On the goal, New Jersey goaltender Cory Schneider (19 saves) exited after sustaining an apparent injury while trying to make the save. Backup Mackenzie Blackwood (seven saves) entered but could not stop Perreault from snapping one in at 7:17 of the third.

Pionk tied it with 7:25 to go in regulation on a nifty goal that stunned the home crowd. The Jets nearly won it with two seconds left in the third, but Wheeler’s flip shot hit the post.

New Jersey opened the scoring with two minutes to go in the first period. In his NHL debut, former Kontinental Hockey League star Gusev took advantage of a Jets turnover and buried a soft pass from Jesper Bratt.

The Devils added to their advantage just 1:42 into the second when Coleman drove home a Wayne Simmonds rebound that Winnipeg was unable to control. New Jersey made it 3-0 with 7:26 left in the second after Vatanen ripped a rolling puck from just inside the blue line and past Brossoit.

Just 1:18 later, Coleman made it 4-0 on highlight-reel effort. Wrestling Kulikov for the puck, Coleman managed to win the duel, then backhanded a shot, while falling to the ice, past Brossoit.

Devils forward Jack Hughes, the 18-year-old No. 1 overall draft pick of 2019, played 15:12 and missed a shootout attempt in his NHL debut. Gusev and Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor scored in the first round of the shootout, and neither team converted again until Wheeler’s winner.

—Field Level Media

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