It took overtime for the Devils to beat the last place team in all of the NHL. Take what you will from that statement. You could say they should have played better or you could say they made sure they won a game that they absolutely needed. They needed this win because all the teams ahead of them, the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, all won on Saturday night. To keep pace, the Devils needed to get two points themselves.
The player that got them to a win is more than surprising. When you see the Devils win a game 1-0 you expect Jaromir Jagr to be the player who scored the goal. He has been great this season and been a pure scorer when they needed it. If it isn’t Jagr, then you think it would be Patrik Elias. If not those two, then you’d reach for a struggling scorer like Adam Henrique or Michael Ryder. You really wouldn’t ever expect Steve Bernier. He has only scored one goal prior to this game. He is having his worst season since becoming a Devil. The best part is the shot was an absolute snipe. He took a wrist shot that barely went into the corner of the net to end the game with 40 seconds left.
The defense was great in keeping shots away from goaltender Cory Schneider. In fact, the two best chances against him were due to his misplays on the puck. You still have to hand it to him, he posted his second shutout of the year after playing a game just 24 hours prior. He stoned Matt Moulson and Christian Ehrhoff on separate attempts to keep the shutout alive. He brought his season GAA down to 1.72, good for fifth in all of the NHL. He has shown he is deserving of more playing time.
The Devils controlled most of this contest. They were the aggressor and just missed many chances to score. Travis Zajac missed a chance when he stole the puck in front of the net but was stopped by Ernoth. He also stopped Andy Greene from ending the game in regulation.
The Devils now get a day off before heading to the Great White North and playing against the Montreal Canadiens in a home-and-home series. They go into that game fourth in the Metropolitan Division. They have a chance to go up against the best of the Atlantic. Last time that happened it went pretty well for the Devils.