Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) watches the puck, next to New Jersey Devils' Tomas Tatar (90) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
NEWARK, N.J. — Fabian Zetterlund and Miles Wood scored in a two-minute span of the third period and Mackenzie Blackwood made 23 saves as the New Jersey Devils rallied to beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 on Sunday night.
The Jets led 2-1 heading into the third period on the strength of first-period goals by Cole Perfetti and Neal Pionk. The Devils rallied with three goals in the third and extended their home winning streak to six games.
Zetterlund scored his sixth at 5:02 to tie the game, before Wood beat Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck for his ninth at 6:53 to give New Jersey the lead.
“We know that we’re a good team and we play the right way,” said Blackwood, who improved to 8-5-2 this season. “If we get down a goal or two or whatever it is, there’s a lot of confidence in here that we’re going to be able to get that goal back.”
Dawson Mercer scored twice for the Devils, including an empty-netter. Erik Haula added two assists for the Devils, who were coming off a 5-2 road win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. New Jersey is 21-4-3 on the road and 16-10-2 at home.
“We’re never out of a game and we’re responsible as a team,” Mercer said. “We play right until the end.”
Mark Scheifele had two assists for the Jets, who had won six straight games at Prudential Center and hadn’t lost in regulation in Newark since January 2012 — with an 8-0-2 record over that span entering Sunday’s game.
“It just got away from us,” Scheifele said. “You play a skilled team like that and they make you pay.”
Perfetti opened the scoring at 14:57 of the first, picking up a rebound and scoring past Blackwood for his eighth goal. The 21-year-old forward has 30 points overall in his second NHL season.
The Devils answered quickly at 15:16 when Mercer scored off assists from Nico Hischier and Dougie Hamilton.
Pionk put Winnipeg ahead 2-1 at 17:09, blasting the puck from the point past Blackwood for his eighth.
The Devils dominated the second and had their best chance to tie with just over five minutes left when Jesper Bratt broke in alone on Hellebuyck, but hit the post. New Jersey had another chance in the waning seconds of the middle period, but Hellebuyck poked the puck off the stick of a charging Zetterlund.
Mercer added his 15th goal into a empty net at 19:04 of the third.
Devils coach Lindy Ruff praised his team’s resolve in forging another comeback win at home.
“We have individuals who have had great years but if you’re going to be a good team, we’re going to need everybody,” Ruff said. “Scoring needs to come from a lot of places. You need secondary scoring and you need other guys to get on the board.”
Hellebuyck, who made 25 saves, fell to 6-2-1 in his career against the Devils.
“Tonight was a couple of turnovers and they capitalized,” Hellebuyck said. “We were in control most of the game and we let it slip away.”
The Jets, who were coming off 3-1 loss at Columbus on Thursday that ended a three-game winning streak, remained three points behind first-place Dallas in the Central Division.
“You can’t turn pucks over. We gave them those two goals,” Jets coach Rick Bowness said. “You have to play a full 60 minutes. Our puck management has to be better.”
NOTES: Winnipeg hasn’t won a division title since moving from Atlanta for the 2011-12 season. They have finished second three times, 2012-13, 2017-18 and 2018-19. … The Devils scratched defenseman Kevin Bahl and forward Nathan Bastian. … The Jets scratched forward Sam Gagner plus defensemen Logan Stanley and Kyle Capobianco. … The teams meet again Apr. 2 in Winnipeg.
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