The New Jersey Devils were able to get a reprieve from the Carolina Hurricanes. They came off a gut-wrenching loss to them on Wednesday to the same team to knock them out of fourth place in the division, but the Devils came right back with their best offensive performance of the season.
Most of their performance came in the third period. They scored four goals in the period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 win seemingly in minutes. All five goals were scored from a different player, which is exactly what the Devils needed. With the second, third and fourth line struggling, it is really good to see success from multiple Devils players. This is the kind of confidence booster that this team needed after three straight losses.
Of course, Jaromir Jagr was one of those who was able to score on this night. He has officially tied Steve Yzerman for eighth on the all-time career scoring list. He scored the fifth goal and was only insurance at that point, but the goal was sure pretty. He was given a pass across the ice from Travis Zajac and then took a shot on goalie Cam Ward which was saved. He took a second shot from in very close on the rebound that went in around Ward.
Mark Fayne got the scoring started when his shot was deflected by Ron Hainsey in front. The goal came because Ward was clearly looking for a pass to go to Jagr on the other side.
The second goal may have been the Devils’ most important just because of who was involved. Andrei Loktionov scored a goal that sneaked through Ward. The assists came from Michael Ryder and Damien Brunner, who were all in major slumps coming into this game. Hopefully the fact that they all received points will help them move forward to become more offensive players. The Devils need them all to contribute down the line for them to stay alive in this division.
Two basic tip in shots accounted for the next two goals. Adam Henrique won a crucial power play faceoff in the offensive zone that eventually went to Eric Gelinas. His shot careened off a defender and went right to the stick of Henrique which he tipped in for the go-ahead score. Then a shot from the point by newcomer John Merrill was tipped past Ward by Dainius Zubrus. That was Merrill’s first career point.
The Devils finally scored for Cory Schneider, who has been plagued with low scoring affairs all season. He now has two straight wins. He wasn’t spectacular, allowing two goals on 19 shots, but he did more than enough to win. It hasn’t been announced who is starting on Saturday, but expect it to be Martin Brodeur since they have split back-to-backs all season.
This was a huge win for the Devils to put them back in a tie for fourth place in the Metropolitan Division. They are now only one point behind the third place New York Rangers. They come right back at it Saturday against the lowly Buffalo Sabres.