NHL

Mackenzie Blackwood, Devils spoil start to Jets' homestand

Nikita Gusev and Jesper Boqvist scored in the shootout to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Thunder Bay, Ont., goaltender makes 32 saves in shootout win

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Copp looks for the rebound in front of New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and Sami Vatanen in Winnipeg on Tuesday. (Fred Greenslade/Canadian Press)

The New Jersey Devils are making up for a slow start to the season.

Nikita Gusev and Jesper Boqvist scored in the shootout to lift the Devils to a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Nico Hischier scored in regulation for the Devils (4-5-4), who have points in six of their past seven games (4-1-2) after losing their first four.

"I think the group is still a little bit frustrated about the way we started (the season), but we've turned a new leaf here with the way we've played and the way we know we want to play so the results have been coming for us, which is great," said Mackenzie Blackwood said.

"Guys are happy, the vibes in the room are growing... There's a long way to go still, but at least we're headed in the right direction."

WATCH | Jets suffer first extra-time loss of season to Devils:

Bryan Little was hit in the head with a slap shot in the third period of New Jersey's 2-1 shootout win. 1:28

The result was also notable for Winnipeg, which hadn't lost in overtime or the shootout this season.

Andrew Copp scored in regulation for the Jets (8-7-1), who started a four-game homestand.

Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for Winnipeg, which went 1-4 in its last homestand at Bell MTS Place.

"I feel we hold ourselves to a pretty high standard and didn't play all the way up to that," Copp said. "With that said, it's not like we were off by a lot. We did some good things.

"Obviously played pretty well defensively. [Hellebuyck] was great again. Some good things, but we got to keep building."

Nothing easy

Winnipeg had won its previous seven games against the Devils, who was making their second stop on a five-game road trip.

"I think the game played out exactly the way I thought it would," Jets head coach Paul Maurice said. "They're a good, quick team and I didn't think we would have all of our quickness there and that was fair.

"Nothing was easy in terms of moving the puck. Part of that is they play that kind of game, part of that is we were just gonna grind this one."

New Jersey led 1-0 after the first period and the game was tied 1-1 after two.

Hischier scored his second goal of the season at 4:44 of the first off a rebound, extending his point streak to four games with two goals and three assists in that span. Taylor Hall assisted, giving him eight points in a six-game point streak including seven assists.

"It feels good," Hischier said. "I think we knew in the locker-room if we keep playing the way we can play we'll get those wins and now they're coming."

Little leaves after being struck in head by puck

Copp tied it up at 8:38 of the second when he deflected in a Josh Morrissey shot from the point.

Jack Hughes went in alone on Hellebuyck late in the second, but the netminder stopped the first overall pick in this year's NHL draft.

New Jersey had a 12-8 lead in shots on goal after the first period, but it was squeezed to 21-20 after 40 minutes.

WATCH | Little exits after slapshot to the head:

Little left in the third period of Winnipeg's loss to the Devils. 0:27

Jets veteran centre Bryan Little left the ice with 12:33 remaining in the third after teammate Nikolaj Ehlers blasted a one-timer from the point that hit Little on the left side of the helmet. He collapsed to the ice and some blood could be seen before he skated off with trainers to the dressing room. Little missed the first nine games of the season with a concussion.

Maurice had no update on Little, but did say he thinks the puck hit Little's ear.

The Devils held the 31-29 edge in shots on goal after three periods, but Winnipeg flipped it to 33-32 after overtime.

New Jersey travels to Calgary for a Thursday game against the Flames. Winnipeg hosts the Vancouver Canucks Friday.

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