Brick City Breakdown: Winnipeg Jets 1, New Jersey Devils 2, F/SO


This is not a drill. This is not a typo. This is not a dream. The New Jersey Devils have won a shootout in the regular season. For the first time in 19 tries, the Devils were victorious in the skills competition. Cory Schneider stood tall denying all three Winnipeg shooters while Jacob Josefson was the hero as he scored the shootout winner. In a game where the Devils did not come close to playing their best, picking up two points is huge. Finally winning a shootout is even bigger. The Devils got the monkey off their back and everyone can stop talking about the streak of futility. With the win, the Devils improved their record to 5-3-2 (12 points) which is good enough for third in the division.

Cory Schneider

Look no further than the man between the pipes as the reason the Devils were victorious tonight. Schneider was on top of his game and made strong saves all night long. In total, he made 24 saves plus the big stops in the shootout. After getting a lot of heat this past week for his performances, it was nice to see Schneider play the kind of game we all know he’s capable of. The only goal that went past him was courtesy of a Blake Wheeler breakaway on a delayed penalty. Schneider was fantastic and he needed to be as the Devils were sluggish for a majority of the evening. Their passes were sloppy and it seemed like they could never retain the puck or get any momentum. Schneider needed to keep the deficit at one or else the Devils wouldn’t have been able to come back, and he did. Somehow he wasn’t one of the three stars, but I’m sure he’d take the W over a star any day.

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Furious Finish

The Devils sleepwalked through the first two plus periods of the game and finally woke up halfway through the third. Peter DeBoer shook up virtually every line and defense combination in search of finding some offense. He even benched captain Bryce Salvador. Without Mike Cammalleri (injured), Martin Havlat (injured) and Eric Gelinas (scratched) the Devils were starved for offense tonight; it was virtually last season’s lineup plus Damon Severson. The team was not in sync and it showed. However, after the line juggling, the Devils found some energy and were able to tie the score with under four minutes left. Jon Merrill, who played much better than Tuesday night, kept the puck in along the boards and found Michael Ryder in the slot. Ryder dangled around one defender and was hooked down, but that didn’t stop him. He gathered himself and beat Ondrej Pavelec top-shelf for the tying goal. The arena exploded with pent up excitement and the Rock was finally awake.

Better Discipline

Coming into the game, the big topic of conversation has been the amount of penalties the Devils take and their abysmal penalty kill. Tonight, the Devils’ discipline was outstanding. They were only whistled for two penalties, both of which seemed questionable, and also the delayed penalty that Winnipeg scored their only goal on. Including the delayed penalty, three minor penalties is something the Devils can live with. Too many times the Devils take five or six penalties and it’s too much for the PK to handle. The discipline was better and the penalty kill was better. The Devils need to keep their focus on playing smart hockey and they’ll win more games than they’ll lose.

Damon Severson

Severson didn’t get on the score sheet, but he was incredible tonight. He didn’t do much in the offensive zone, but where he made his impact was in the defensive zone. Severson easily broke up five or so cross-ice passes that could have ended up in the back of the net. When the Devils were making their furious comeback, Severson would be caught regularly on a 2-on-1 and he would break up the play without breaking a sweat. I’m running out of adjectives to describe Severson because he’s just that good. One night it’s a gigantic goal, one night it’s a silky assist, another night it’s great defensive plays. The 20-year-old does it all. There could definitely be a Calder Trophy in his future.

Tonight’s win was huge for the Devils in many ways, but none more than finally winning a shootout. The curse has been broken. A weight has been lifted from the team and hopefully this will spring them into future success. New Jersey is back in action Saturday night as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center.