New Jersey Devils end losing streak, tame the Wild.


The New Jersey Devils have finally won again! Tonight the Devils were able to put a full 60 minute effort together and defeat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 at the Prudential Center. This was the best win of the relatively young season for the Devils as they combined all facets of the game to get the win. The goaltending was incredible, the offense clicked and the defense was not a complete trainwreck. It feels so good to get two points after losing four straight in demoralizing fashion. The Devils were terrific tonight and it all started with the man between the pipes.

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Cory Schneider might have played the best game of his NHL career. Schneider was breathtaking tonight, even including his one egregious mistake that led to Minnesota’s only goal of the game. Schneider made 23 saves and there were four or five that was highlight reel stops. In the first period, with the Devils trying to kill a penalty, Schnieder dove to his right to make a huge save on Jason Pominville. Later a puck bounced off the post, hit Schneider in the back and rolled to the goal line before Schneider was able to reach back and swipe the puck away. Those are the kind of bad breaks that have been going against the Devils this season, but not tonight. The one save that was SportsCenter Top 10 worthy was his save on Erik Haula late in the third period. Thomas Vanek walked in with Haula on a 2-on-0 and made a pass to the wide open Haula whose shot found the sliding right pad of Schneider. Cory Schneider was absolutely ridiculous tonight, and it must have felt good after getting booed during introductions. I guess Peter DeBoer was right to start him after all.

The offense was also very productive tonight scoring three goals, and yes one was an empty netter. Seth Helgeson, making his NHL debut in place of Bryce Salvador who was out of the lineup due to injury, received a pass from Adam Larsson and sent a shot toward the net that was deflected home by Tuomo Ruutu. Helgeson was solid in his first game and should play over Salvador for the forseeable future. Jacob Josefson also gets an honorary assist for some great work in the corner leading to the goal. Then the top line would get in on the act with Mike Cammalleri putting in a rebound off a Jaromir Jagr shot. That line was great once again and Travis Zajac also got rewarded with the power play empty net goal to ice the game. On the second line, Martin Havlat made his return tonight and seemed to ignite Patrik Elias. Those two are crazy together and hopefully Havlat can stay healthy.

Probably the most notable thing to come out of tonight was the Devils’ penalty kill. The worst PK unit in the entire NHL was a robust 4-4 tonight as they shut down a very weak Wild PP. Regardless of who they were facing, it was huge to get the penalty kill on track. Adam Larsson was very strong paired with Andy Greene as the main PK defensemen while Damon Severson rotated in as well. Helgeson didn’t get much PK time if any, but he should in the future. Overall, the defense was outstanding tonight at both ends of the ice – the Devils got four assists from the blue line. It’s amazing what the Devils look like with Salvador out of the lineup.

It’s so nice to be positive after a game. Cory Schneider was on another planet tonight, Cammalleri with the top line was great, Havlat provided a spark, Helgeson was impactful, just the whole team was terrific tonight. I have nothing negative to say about anybody at all. It was easily the best performance of the season. Hopefully they can continue this effort when they take on the Washington Capitals on Friday, maybe with Adam Henrique back in the fold as well.