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03/10/2013 11:02 PM EDT
Elias' shootout goal gives Devils win
NEW JERSEY 3, WINNIPEG 2 (OT)

By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Johan Hedberg didn't have time to get down
on himself after being lifted for the second time this past
week.



With Martin Brodeur still sidelined with a sore back and the New
Jersey Devils in the midst of a slide, Hedberg needed to
rebound. That's exactly what he did on Sunday night against the
Winnipeg Jets.



Hedberg made 23 saves and stopped all three Winnipeg attempt in
the shootout to lead the Devils to a 3-2 victory, only their
second win in nine games without Brodeur.



"When we got to the shootout, I knew that we were in good
position to win the game," said Hedberg, who was lifted after
two periods in the Devils' 6-3 loss at Carolina on Saturday
night. "I had to bounce back. There's no time for getting down
and feeling sorry for yourself. I had to get back out there. I
really needed this, and maybe now I can put a few good games
together."



Hedberg, also lifted in a loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday, was
solid in the shootout. The 39-year-old made a snow-angel save
Blake Wheeler, a glove stop on Evander Kane and a pad save on
Andrew Ladd on the final try.



"He deserves this, because he's the hardest worker we have every
day," Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk said. "It was a great thing
for us to be able to get him the win. Every game now is
important. Every game becomes huge."



The win was only the Devils' fourth in 14 games (4-8-2) and it
kept them a point ahead of the eighth-place Rangers in the
Eastern Conference. New York has two games in hand. Winnipeg is
two points behind the Rangers and three behind New Jersey in the
race for the final two playoff berths.



Patrik Elias scored the only goal of the shootout to give the
Devils a much needed two points and to keep Winnipeg, which has
played one fewer game than New Jersey, from getting closer.



Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta scored in regulation time for the
Devils, while Elias netted the winner with a backhander on the
Devils' last attempt. It barely got under goalie Ondrej Pavelec,
who made 25 saves before the tiebreaker.



"We didn't have a lot of great players, that's for sure, a lot
of good players," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "I thought we
struggled in a lot of areas."



Goaltending wasn't one of them.



"He was, I thought by far, our best player," Noel said.



Defenseman Mark Stuart and Kane had regulation goals for the
Jets, who had a two-game winning streak snapped and lost for
only the third time in eight games.



Both goalies had to make big saves in overtime. Pavelec stopped
Peter Harrold in the opening minute and then denied Clarkson
with his pad with 2:36 to go.



Hedberg had a glove save on Kane 5.8 seconds before the
shootout, and a stop on Dustin Byfuglien in close a minute
earlier.



Hedberg also kept the game tied with a pad save on a blast by
Byfuglien with 4:50 left in the third period. Kyle Wellwood
almost gave Winnipeg the lead in the closing seconds, but his
drive struck the post.



The Devils, who hadn't scored the first goal in nine games, got
the first two against the Jets. They were in total command until
defenseman Andy Greene tipped Stuart's shot from the left boards
past Hedberg, who was in perfect position to stop the relatively
easy shot.



Noel was annoyed with his team's start, especially because it
was here and off on Saturday and the Devils played on the road
and had to travel home.



"We didn't come out a little flat, we came out a lot flat," Noel
said. "So how it can happen is beyond me."



Kane tied made it 2-2 with 2:41 left in the second period,
ripping a shot from the left circle high into the corner of the
net after being sprung by Stuart on a 2-on-1 with Antti
Miettinen.



New Jersey, which lost 6-3 at Carolina on Saturday night, came
out flying despite the back-to-back games. Pavelec kept the
Devils off the boards until a lucky bounce set up Carter's goal.



New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov fired the puck off the
glass behind the net after crossing center ice. Instead of going
around the net, the puck came right back in front, and Pavelec
stopped Travis Zajac in close.



The center sent the puck across the crease, and Carter
backhanded it in for his third goal of the season.



Gionta pushed the lead to 2-0 just 1:25 later, beating Pavelec
between the pads on a breakaway set up by Kovalchuk.



It marked the first time the Devils enjoyed a two-goal lead
since a win over the Flyers on Feb. 15, a span of 11 games.



NOTED: Stuart was shaken up midway through the third period,
going face first into the boards behind the net while making a
touch on an icing call. ... Devils captain Bryce Salvador was
back in the lineup after missing Saturday night's game because
of an upper body injury. ... The Jets went 2-1-1 on a four-game
road trip. ... The Devils had their 12th sellout in 13 home
games this season. ... Winnipeg has killed 22 straight penalties
over the last eight games.

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