Devils take down Jets after scary Bryan Little head injury

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The New Jersey Devils are making up for a slow start to the season.

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

Nico Hischier scored in regulation for the Devils, who are 4-1-2 in their past seven games.

Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 32 shots for New Jersey, which was playing the second game of a five-game trip.

“I think the group is still a little bit frustrated about the way we started, 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,” Blackwood said.

“Guys are happy, the vibes in the room are growing,” the goaltender added. “There’s a long way to go still, but at least we’re headed in the right direction.”

Andrew Copp scored in regulation for the Jets, who started a four-game homestand and lost in extra time for the first time this season.

The Jets also suffered an injury scare as Winnipeg center 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 to the dressing room, accompanied by trainers.

After the game Jets coach Paul Maurice said he thought the puck hit Little’s ear.Little missed the first nine games of the season with a concussion.

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

“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.”

Winnipeg had won its previous seven games against the Devils.

“I think the game played out exactly the way I thought it would,” 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 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.”

Copp tied it at 8:38 of the second when he deflected in Josh Morrissey’s 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 draft.

New Jersey had a 12-8 lead in shots on goal after the first period. At the end of regulation, the Devils had 31 shots to the Jets’ 29. Winnipeg had four shots in overtime to New Jersey’s one.