Petr Sykora Leads the New Jersey Devils to Fifth Win in a Row

Petr Sykora’s third period goal lifted the New Jersey Devils past the Detroit Red Wings, 2-1 on Thursday night. It was Sykora’s 20th goal of the season, becoming the fifth player on the Devils to do so this season.

With the game tied 1-1 midway through the third period, Sykora took a nifty feed from Patrik Elias  to beat Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.  It was his sixth game-winning goal of the season, trailing only David Clarkson (7) for the team lead.

The 35-year-old forward hadn’t played a NHL game since 2009-10, but was invited to Devils training camp on a tryout basis. Sykora played well enough to earn a spot on the roster and he made the most of his second chance by collecting at least 20-goals for the tenth time in his 16 season career.

The win was New Jersey’s first at Joe Louis Arena since 11/6/1996, ending string of nine consecutive losses in Detroit.

Martin Brodeur made 23 saves for the victory.  Brodeur improved to 30-21-3, marking an NHL record 14th time in his career he’s won at least 30 games.  The 39-year-old was sharp making several stops early to keep the Devils in the game.

He was even better in the second period stopping 13 of 14 Detroit shots. His only blemish was a Tomas Holmstrom power play goal at 6:13 of the period. Brodeur had to be good, his team was out shot 14-4.

Alexei Ponikarovsky got New Jersey on the board first roofing his own rebound past Howard for his 13th goal of the season and sixth since joining the Devils back in February.

The win earned the Devils 100 points for the 12th time in franchise history. It also means the Atlantic Division concludes the season with four teams above the century mark. Another NHL first.

The Red Wings needed this game worse than New Jersey did. They are locked into an up and down battle with the Nashville Predators for the fourth seed and home ice advantage in the Western Conference

The Devils have already clinched the number six spot in the Eastern Conference and won’t know their first-round opponent until Saturday.

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