Confident Schneider, Devils Win Second Straight
The season may be lost, their chance of a playoff berth may be slim, but the New Jersey Devils are not going down without a fight.
With a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday evening, the Devils have won two consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 12-14 when they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks, respectively. At the forefront of this victory is the revived play of Cory Schneider, who backstopped the Devils with a 34-save performance against Buffalo.
For 415 days, Schneider had not won a game in which he was the starting goaltender. After coming in to relieve Keith Kinkaid against the Minnesota Wild this past Friday, Schneider stopped 15 shots, leading the Devils to a come-from-behind, overtime victory. His first win since Dec. 27, 2017 proved to be just what he needed to earn his confidence back.
“I feel really good, even though some of the games we didn’t get the results, there were moments where I felt really good,” Schneider said. “You get one you get two, hopefully you can build it into three or four and go on a run here.”
The Sabres, led by superstar captain Jack Eichel, were the story of the NHL early in the season for their surprisingly dominating play. The play of Buffalo has slipped as of late and they were looking to right the ship against a struggling Devils team searching for their identity. Unfortunately for the Sabres, they ran into a goalie who is starting to find his groove.
Since Feb. 7, Schneider has posted a record of 2-2-1, a .925 save percentage and 2.37 goals against average. These are the numbers that the Devils and their fans have come to expect from their goaltender over the years.
“Part of being a goaltender is like a quarterback in football… you have to win your team,” head coach John Hynes stated. “Cory’s a guy that has the ability to win his team.”
Schneider seemed to be in control from the drop of the puck. He showed flashes of brilliance throughout the night, robbing multiple Sabres at key moments of the game. Schneider made the saves that he needed to make and seemed to be seeing the puck well.
“I thought he fought through traffic really well and he was in position when there were net-front, scrum battles, tips, rebound situations,” Hynes said. “He was where he needed to be.”
The Devils will play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
Kyle Palmieri has registered seven points in his last five games (three goals, four assists). With his three-point game against Buffalo, Palmieri now has 47 points on the season, surpassing last season’s point total (44)
Devils Kurtis Gabriel and Sabres Zach Bogosian were seen jawing at each other during warm-ups. Bogosian slashed and cross-checked Gabriel at center-ice, drawing excitement from the crowd.
Morristown, N.J. native Kenny Agostino made his Prudential Center debut for the Devils.
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