WINNIPEG - It was the result and not the effort that disappointed Claude Noel.
The Winnipeg Jets lost 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday after Patrik Elias scored a tiebreaker with seven minutes left in the game.
The loss was Winnipeg’s fifth in its last six games and drops its record to 20-19-5.
“This is not the time to start beating up on this team,” said Noel, who had been worried about his players’ morale after Thursday’s 2-0 loss to San Jose. “It’s not going to happen, not from my standpoint. If people want to do that, that’s fine, but it’s not going to happen from here.
“We want effort. We wanted to be proud of our effort today and we wanted to work. We wanted to work together, work smart and we got that. That’s what we did so this thing will get itself resolved.”
Elias’ 16th goal of the season came three minutes after Devils defenceman Kurtis Foster tied the game at 9:45 of the third.
Elias’ goal extended his points streak to five games and the Devils (25-17-2) have won four of their last six games. Martin Brodeur turned aside 22 shots for New Jersey.
Winnipeg scored first with Andrew Ladd’s 15th goal of the season at 18:31 of the first period.
Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec faced 24 shots, including a penalty shot by Elias with 1:36 left in the game.
Winnipeg lost leading-scorer Blake Wheeler early in the second period after a long, hard shot by Petr Sykora hit him in the throat area.
Noel said Wheeler was taken to hospital to be assessed, but he hadn’t received any news at the end of the game.
“We don’t know yet, but I think he’s OK.”
The Jets go on the road for back-to-back games against Ottawa on Monday and New Jersey on Tuesday.
Winnipeg defenceman Ron Hainsey was ready to keep pounding away for a victory.
“We’ve had some leads,” he said. “We’re not getting run out of the building, especially against a lot of good teams.
“We’re just in tight, low-scoring one-goal games that … one play here, one play there that’s cost us.”
Ladd scored after racing down the left boards from centre ice and firing a high shot that glanced off the top of Brodeur’s glove at 18:31 of the first.
Foster’s second goal of the season came after winger Dainius Zubrus won the faceoff in Winnipeg’s end and kicked the puck to Foster, who snapped it above Pavelec’s glove.
“It was also my first goal as a Devil and it definitely felt really nice,” said Foster, who was acquired in a trade last month from Anaheim.
Elias redirected a point shot from Larsson for the go-ahead goal at 12:43.
“We got a little luck, we battled real hard,” Brodeur said. “A little chaotic, but we got it done.”
The game was the final one of a four-game road trip for the Devils.
“We knew we needed contributions from some different people tonight with some of the guys we have out of the lineup and at the end of the road trip we got that,” said New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer.
Notes: The Jets have now lost three straight in regulation for the first time since they opened the season with three losses … Devils rookie sensation Adam Henrique (34 points) didn’t play because of a minor groin injury he suffered against Edmonton on Wednesday.