Connor scores 35th, Comrie makes 33 saves, Jets beat Devils

Mar 10, 2022, 4:38 AM | Updated: 8:07 pm

New Jersey Devils Travis Zajac (19) takes the ice for a ceremony honoring his 1000th career NHL game prior to an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday, March 10, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Eric Comrie is making the most of his limited starts in goal with the Winnipeg Jets.

Comrie made 33 saves in winning for the seventh time in 10 starts and Kyle Connor scored his team-leading 35th goal late in the second period to lead the Jets to a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

“I think our team did a really good job of just keeping everything the outside,” Comrie said after winning his fourth straight start and improving to 7-2-1. “They did a good job boxing out, collecting rebounds. We have a good team in that locker room and it’s just a pleasure to play behind them.”

Playing behind workhorse Connor Hellebuyck, Comrie knows he’ll have five or six games off between starts. Getting a chance to face New Jersey was a double treat, since he was with the Devils for a month last season and won his only start.

“I think if you only spend a month in a place, it doesn’t count as a revenge tour,” Comrie quipped. “Guys joked about it before the game. But no don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every single second I was in New Jersey.”

Connor got the game winner with 54 seconds left in the second period with an unassisted breakaway goal that referee Frederick L’Ecuyer originally thought hit the crossbar and didn’t go into the net. The puck hit the crossbar and caromed into the bottom of the net. Connor started the play, stealing the puck from Jesper Bratt in the Devils zone and skating the length of the ice.

“Obviously I knew it went in,” Connor said. “I was right there and just kind of looked back and the refs going like (waving no goal) so I’m just kind of looking at him. But I knew it went in.”

So did Devils goaltender Nico Daws, who finished with 28 saves.

“I think I might have been the only one in the building that knew he scored,” Daws said. “I think I could have played it better, given myself a greater chance. I mean, at the end of the day, it was a great goal scorer and he put the puck in a great spot to score.”

Defenseman Brenden Dillion also scored as the Jets won for the fourth time in six games (4-1-1).

Jack Hughes scored for the Devils in extending his home-scoring steak to 13 games (nine goals, 12 assists).

“It’s kind of an old theme for us where we missed too many opportunities,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said.

Dillon and Hughes traded goals in the opening period.

Dillon got his second of the season on a 2-on-1 break with Mark Scheifele at 3:22. It was his first goal since Dec. 17 and 26th goal in 709 NHL games.

Hughes tied it on the power play at 18:27, one-timing a cross-ice pass by Bratt past Comrie before the goalie could get across the crease.

NOTES: The game was the first between the teams in New Jersey since Oct. 4, 2019. … The Jets beat the Devils 8-4 on Dec. 3. … Before the game, the Devils honored Travis Zajac for playing in his 1,000th game last season. He played all but 13 games of his 1,024 games in a 15-year career with New Jersey. … Devils captain Nico Hischier missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. … Daws started his sixth straight game.

UP NEXT:

Jets: Play the second of three in four nights when they face the Islanders in New York on Friday night.

Devils: Finish a four-game homestand when they host Anaheim on Saturday night.

___

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Connor scores 35th, Comrie makes 33 saves, Jets beat Devils