New Jersey Devils Snap Losing Streak With Aid of Jon Merrill

By Nick Villano
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils played their fourth overtime game in a row, all with Cory Schneider in net. It was the first time in franchise history that four straight games were decided in the extra period. They earned a much needed two points tonight against the Edmonton Oilers.

The new first line of Jaromir Jagr, Andrei Loktionov and Dainius Zubrus paid dividends early when they got a goal 11 minutes into the game. Loktionov took a pass from Bryce Salvador and put it into a wide open net. It seems that despite the success, coach Peter DeBoer abandoned the line change with Loktionov only getting eight minutes of ice time.

Not 30 seconds later Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique’s former linemate in juniors, tied the game off a pass from Nail Yakupov. Mark Fayne did all he could to deflect the pass, but he was no use on the two on one.

The story of the game was Jon Merrill. He scored his first career goal 2:34 into overtime. Michael Ryder made a backhanded pass off the boards that Merrill slapped past Ilya Bryzgalov to send the Jersey fans home happy. During the play, Henrique had a close play that could have been called holding, but was let go by the refs. It looked like a good call at the time, but close nonetheless.

Schneider, who had 19 of 20 saves, will once again start on Saturday for the Devils against the Washington Capitals. The team was not able to gain any ground as all the Metropolitan teams who were in action at the time of the game won, except for the Pittsburgh Penguins who lost in overtime.

The Devils could not lose more points to the last place in the Western Conference Oilers. Earlier in the season they let a three-goal third period lead turn into an overtime loss. They know the feeling of lost points and could not afford to lose more on this night.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports.  He also adds to the site’s NBA, MLB and NFL content.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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