The Jets overcame a late 4-0 second-period deficit, got shootout goals from Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler and spoiled the debut of No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes by rallying to beat the Devils 5-4 on Friday night.
"Not four," Maurice said when asked the last time a team he coached overcame a four-goal deficit. "I have had some threes. I don’t remember a four. I am sure over the last 25 years it has happened. I just can’t remember."
This one will be hard to forget, for both teams.
"It was great," said Wheeler, who scored the game winner on a backhander past Mackenzie Blackwood in the fourth round. "We stayed with it and stayed together as a group, just kept fighting and one after another we just kept getting bounces go our way."
Dmitry Kulikov, Jack Roslovic, Mathieu Perreault and Neal Pionk scored for the Jets. Laurent Brossoit was outstanding in making 35 saves. He made three stops in the shootout, including one on a shot by Hughes.
"It was crazy, I can’t say I have experienced a game quite like that," Brossoit said after the Jets avoided an 0-2 start. "When you are down by that much you are just working on things and stay focused and make sure it doesn’t turn into a (bad) show."
Blake Coleman had two goals for New Jersey, including a spectacular one-handed shot while falling down. Nikita Gusev also tallied in his first NHL game and Sami Vatanen added a goal for the Devils, while defenceman P.K. Subban had two assists.
"We don’t have any excuses in here," Subban said. "We’re going to learn from this as a group. And It’s not about pointing fingers. It wasn’t one specific guy."
Blackwood was in the game because starter Cory Schneider was hurt early in the Jets’ three-goal third period. Coach John Hynes had no update on his condition after the game.
Trailing 4-0 in the final minute of the second period, the Jets started their comeback with 11 seconds left when Kulikov beat Schneider on a shot from the point.
It didn’t seem like much until the Jets turned it on in the third period despite playing their second game in 24 hours.
Roslovic cut the lead in half, scoring on a rebound at 2:41. Schneider was hurt either making the initial save or on the goal, and he had to come out of the game.
The Jets kept coming, while Brossoit denied several New Jersey chances.
Shortly after making a stop in close on Nico Hischier, Perreault cut the lead to 4-3 at 7:17on a shot from between the circles.
Pionk tied the game with 7:25 left in regulation on a shot that eluded a screened Blackwood.
For the first 39 minutes, the sellout crowd had nothing but cheers for their new-look Devils, whose lineup included newcomers Wayne Simmonds, Subban and Gusev.
The highlight was Coleman’s one-hand shot with the butt of his stick that went over the glove of a stunned Brossoit.
Gusev gave the Devils a 1-0 lead in the first period and Coleman sandwiched goals around one by Vatanen to seemingly put them in control.
NOTES: For the second straight game the Devils were called for a too many men on the ice penalty. … Subban had a big hit early, knocking down Connor in centre ice. … Hughes had a great scoring chance on his only shot. He played 18 shifts and 15:12. …"It was an OK start," Hughes said. "It was a pretty good first period, trailed off a little in the second and obviously in the third wasn’t my best. But luckily we have the opportunity to play tomorrow."
Jets: Continue four-game road trip to open season at Islanders on Sunday night.
Devils: At Buffalo on Saturday night.