But, the New Jersey Devils‘ incredible fourth line has continued its magic from the postseason last year. Whenever the Devils are in need of an energized shift, those three players, who have jumped up to the third line this season, have been on the ice to make it happen.
A punishing forecheck, shots on net, and a bruising style of hockey have been the keys to success and what this line has become known for. And now, they’re adding an offensive prowess to their resume, too.
Carter, Gionta and Bernier have combined for 12 points so far this season, after scoring 10 total goals in the 24-game playoff sprint last spring.
On occasion, Devils head coach Pete DeBoer will split up Carter, Gionta and Bernier, but for the most part, they’re always out there together, doing the same thing that helped New Jersey reach the Stanley Cup Final last postseason.
And, more than anything else, they just keep it simple: getting pucks to the crease, crashing the net, and playing a solid defensive game usually turn into goals — just like Carter’s game-winning-goal in game five of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers last season.
If anything, the playoffs last season might have given this magical line confidence going into this season. None of the players had ever had real stability on an NHL team, and they made a serious impact on a team that went to the Stanley Cup Final.
After the long playoff run that ended in disappointment, New Jersey rewarded Gionta, Carter and Bernier with new deals late in June last season, giving them the hope that they could become full-time NHL players.
In a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders last week, that line helped the Devils erase a two goal deficit. Bernier and Gionta scored back-to-back goals in the second period as New Jersey came fighting back to force overtime.
On Sunday, Bernier scored two goals in two minutes late in the third period to lead the Devils to a much-needed 3-0 win over the Islanders and snap a four-game losing streak.
Their plays are far from pretty, but make no mistake, they are effective and essential to the Devils’ success. They were last season, and they will continue to be a major part of the team this year, too.