WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Even after scoring two goals and tying a club record, all Andrew Ladd wanted to talk about was the end-to-end rush by teammate Dustin Byfuglien.
Ladd scored 8 seconds into the game, matching a franchise mark, and finished with two goals and an assist to lead the Winnipeg Jets over the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Thursday night.
His second goal came during a 4-on-4 situation and gave Winnipeg a 2-1 lead with 8 minutes remaining. Byfuglien carried the puck all the way from behind his own net and attempted a wraparound before Ladd jammed the loose puck past Devils goalie Johan Hedberg.
"Buff did the leg work and I had to pick up the garbage," said Ladd, who leads the Jets with 12 goals. "It was an unbelievable rush on his part and I just went to the net and found it."
Winnipeg coach Claude Noel was just as impressed with the breathtaking rush by his big defenseman.
"I think that Buff decided we're not going to go to overtime," Noel said. "I mean, did you see him skate? He looked like a stallion there."
Blake Wheeler added an empty-net goal for the Jets, who have won three straight and five of six.
Andrei Loktionov had the lone goal for the slumping Devils, who have one win in their last six games after a fast start.
Winnipeg opened the scoring before many fans had found their seats. Ladd went around the defense to pick up a bouncing puck and put a backhand past Hedberg just 8 seconds after the opening faceoff.
"It's unfortunate to put yourself in that hole off the bat," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "But we had enough time to get ourselves back in the game and get the win.
"We created enough chances to score three or four tonight. We just need to put them in."
Noel said Ladd, the Jets' captain, has been quietly leading by example all season.
"I think right now our team is certainly driven by him and it shows," Noel said. "It doesn't matter whether he scores or doesn't or gets points, but he's a hard-driving guy and he expects a lot from himself."