NEWARK, N.J. â€” A night after being eliminated from playoff contention, all the Winnipeg Jets wanted to talk about was coming back from a two-goal deficit against the woeful New Jersey Devils.
For the Devils, who were eliminated last week, the only thing on their minds was the failure of the officials to call a penalty shot in the final 31 seconds of overtime.
Patrik Laine scored in a shootout, Connor Hellebuyck stopped all three New Jersey attempts and the Jets rallied for a 4-3 win on Tuesday night in the makeup of a game that was postponed by a snowstorm earlier this month.
“It says something about our team,” said Laine, who slid the puck past goaltender Cory Schneider on the Jets’ second shootout attempt. “We’ve been in similar situations so many times this season and still are able to battle and get those points.”
The Devils, who had three penalty shots called against them in two recent games, felt they would have gotten the extra point had referees Dan O’Rourke and Chris Schlenker awarded Hall a penalty shot late in the overtime after Blake Wheeler tripped him on a breakaway.
New Jersey coach John Hynes stated the facts as he saw them: Hall had a clear-cut breakaway and was denied a shot because of the trip.
“I don’t envy the ref’s position,” Hall said. “They have to make so many hard choices throughout the game so sometimes they see something that maybe they look at on video and see another thing after the game. I don’t know. You just want to see some consistency. I would have loved to have a penalty shot to win.”
Hall didn’t get the chance and Hellebuyck, who made 20 saves, stopped John Quenneville, Hall and Pavel Zacha in the shootout.
Jets coach Paul Maurice said his team showed him something, winning despite the travel and the disappointment of being eliminated.
“The emotions were low and we didn’t have a lot in the tank here tonight, but they didn’t quit and stayed in the fight and it was a good result,’ he said.
Nikolaj Ehlers, Wheeler, Joel Armia also scored for Winnipeg.
Beau Bennett, Hall, Stefan Noesen tallied for New Jersey, which has lost four straight and won only twice (2-12-4) in 18 games.
“Pretty similiar to what has been going on the last 20 games, close, but not enough to win,” said Schneider, who made 33 saves. “Again, it’s a game where we had control at 3-1 in the second and we let a high skill team back into it.”
Trailing 3-1 with less than five minutes left in the second period, the Jets tied it on goals by Wheeler and Armia.
Wheeler cut the deficit to a goal by deflecting at shot by defenceman Julian Melchiori past Schneider at 16:36. Armia tied the game at 2:40 of the third period with a short-handed, unassisted goal on a play he sidestepped two Devils and ripped a shot to the top corner from the right circle.
The Devils were outshot 25-15 in the first two periods but they capitalized on every Winnipeg mistake to score three straight goals.
Bennett tied the game at 8:10 of the first, diving into the crease to nudge a puck over the goal line.
Hall scored on a breakaway a little less than four minutes later, and Noesen extended the lead to two goals converting in close at 15:27 of the second period on a nice setup by Blake Pietila.
Ehlers gave the Jets the lead less than a minute after the opening faceoff. He worked a give-and-go with Wheeler and beat Schneider from in close with a shot to the top of the net for his 23rd goal.
NOTES: Jets D Jacob Trouba got his 100th NHL point with an assist on Ehlers’ goal. … Melchiori’s point was his first in 25 NHL games. … Pietila’s assist was his first point 10 games this season. … New Jersey signed University of Massachusetts-Lowell D Michael Kapla to a two-year, entry-level contract. … Laine returned to the lineup after missing the last game with an illness.
Jets: Host the Ducks on Thursday night.
Devils: At the New York Islanders on Friday night.
Tom Canavan, The Associated Press