Amid days worth of rumors, the New Jersey Devils took care of business at night. They took on the Detroit Red Wings in a crucial matchup to their playoff chances. They escaped with the win after almost giving it away.
Of course, everyone is waiting until 3 p.m. Wednesday to see if certain players are going to survive the trade deadline. For the first time in his career, Martin Brodeur‘s name is a part of the rumors. With Cory Schneider as the full-time starter, Brodeur may want a chance to play more elsewhere.
Despite the rampant rumors circulating all day Tuesday, he still won the game for his team. He made 20 saves, including one from his back. It may be a fitting end to a great career with one franchise for the all-time leader in wins.
Looking beyond Brodeur, it was great to see the Devils offense scoring again. Since the end of the break, the Devils have scored 17 goals in four games. That is 4.25 per game over that stretch. That is almost two full goals above their season average. They scored four goals on 29 shots on Tuesday night. They have been extremely hot on the offensive side.
There is one player in particular who has been on fire, and that is Adam Henrique. He was named the NHL second star of the week after scoring four goals and notching two assists in three games. He added a goal very quickly in Tuesday’s contest when a misplay by Daniel Alfredsson turned into a turnover right in front of Jimmy Howard. After a review, it showed that Henrique drilled the puck home only 27 seconds into the game.
Jaromir Jagr stayed hot as well with an assist on Travis Zajac‘s goal. It was his 1,041st assist of his career, which puts him in sole possession of eighth place all-time.
Unfortunately, the Devils blew another lead in the third period when Todd Bertuzzi scored a power play goal with a little over 10 minutes left in the game. It was a situation that Devils fans knew all too well. The ending was something different, however. Stephen Gionta deflected a Mark Fayne shot past Howard with only 36 seconds left in the game. It was only Gionta’s fourth goal of the season. It was a fitting end for a hard-fought game.
This was a very important game when it comes to playoff seeding. With the Red Wings loss and a Columbus Blue Jackets win, the Metropolitan Division took back the second Wild Card spot. The Devils are now only two points out of a playoff spot, and three points out of second place in the Metro. This team is right in the thick of an extremely close playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
With the trade deadline only hours away, there is no way to tell what the Devils will look like in the rematch with the Red Wings on Friday. Both these teams can see dramatic changes. Either way, this is a huge win for a team that desperately needed it.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter here.