New Jersey Devils Lucky to Survive Another Late-Blown Lead

By Nick Villano
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It seemed all too familiar. The New Jersey Devils had the New York Rangers down to their final hopes. There was less than a minute left and they had the lead. Then the other team scored.

It was just like what happened when they played the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. The only difference is this game was not decided by the shootout, which is a good sign for the Devils who have yet to win after 65 minutes of play. After the Rangers captain Ryan Callahan took a double minor just after the first minute of overtime, it took the Devils’ Eric Gelinas just 13 seconds to make them pay. He took a one-timer pass from Patrik Elias that just barely went off the glove of a sprawling Henrik Lundqvist.

Although it would have been nice to keep the Rangers pointless, the Devils will take solace in the face that they ended their own three- game losing streak to a division rival. The Devils have yet to lose to the Rangers so far this season, going 3-0 with a +6 goal differential.  They are playing their best hockey when the division rival is on the other side of the ice. They find a different gear that fans probably wish was a nightly thing at this point.  The next time these two teams play will be January 26, as part of the Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium.

Michael Ryder gave the Devils their first lead when he scored with a little over four minutes left in the third period. He skated past John Moore and threw the puck through Lundqvist’s five hole. This was Ryder’s third goal in four games after a lengthy slump.

Chris Kreider looked like he was going to play hero for the Rangers. He skated threw three Devils to poke a puck over Martin Brodeur’s head to tie the game with 21 seconds left. The puck was shot from the point and hit Callahan in the gut, which bounced in front for the chip in. Kreider has been great for the Rangers lately and seemed like he was going to do more to cement his early legacy by helping to put down the Hudson River Rivals. It just wasn’t meant to be.

The new line of Jaromir Jagr, Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus seems to be playing very well as it helped Zajac get another goal on Saturday night. He played a Jagr rebound in front of the net and rang it in off the crossbar.

Cam Janssen scored a goal as only Cam Janssen could. Tim Sestito put a shot on net that went to him. He tried to stop and play it but ended up running into the puck, which put it into the goal. In 16 games this season, Janssen has as many goals as he had in the previous 311. I know he was never a goal scorer, but that’s a lot of games.

The Devils were the first team to upend the Rangers in overtime this season.  Even after their losing streak, they find themselves one point out of third place and a guaranteed playoff spot. They have off until Tuesday when they play the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports.  He also adds to their NFL and MLB content.  You can follow him on Twitter.

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