Devils Grab Big Win in OT
It wasn’t pretty in Newark on Thursday night, but the Devils managed to get two huge points in their win against the Minnesota Wild. Coming on the heels of a three-game losing the streak, the Devils needed something to get them going — a win is exactly what the doctor ordered.
The game started well enough for the Devils; they jumped out to a 2-0 lead through two periods, thanks to goals from Michael Ryder in the first (ending his 23-game goal scoring drought), and Mark Fayne in the second. Former Devil Zach Parise got a goal back for the Wild early in the third, but the Devils seemed to have grabbed the momentum back when Jaromir Jagr scored on the power play, restoring the Devils’ three goal lead. However, this was not to be, as Minnesota fought back and dominated the third period from there on out.
Mikael Granlund scored from an ugly angle against Devils goalie Cory Schneider to cut the lead to 3-2, and then after the Devils took back-to-back penalties, the Wild were able to take advantage when Matt Cooke tipped in a shot in front of the net to tie it at three. Immediately following that chance, Travis Zajac (who took the penalty for the Devils) had two terrific chances to score, but ended up hitting the posts. The game was headed to overtime.
At this point, Devils fans were on edge. It looked like they could be watching their team blow another third period lead, but Andy Greene would not let that be the case. In overtime he got the decisive goal for the Devils, giving them a huge win. This was a win the Devils needed to get, as they need momentum for a big showdown with the New York Rangers on Saturday.
The Devils failed to get any help around the league on Thursday. Columbus and Detroit both got wins, leaving the Devils five points back of Columbus for the last divisional playoff spot and having played one game more, and five points behind the Rangers for the last wild card spot. At this point — with only 12 games to go — the matchup with the Rangers on Saturday looks like a must win. If the Devils lose in regulation, they will be seven points back of the last wild card spot with only 11 games left. While that’s not insurmountable, it’s far from a comfortable spot to sit in.
The game on Saturday against the Rangers is at the Prudential Center at 7:00 pm. While their game at Yankees stadium was counted as a Devils home game, the Devils have otherwise beaten the Rangers in every home and away indoor game this year, which may provide even more hope for the Devils and their fans alike.