New Jersey Devils Get Best Win Of Season Against Pittsburgh Penguins


Attention everybody, the New Jersey Devils that we know and love are back! Tonight, the Devils recorded their best win of the season by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 at Prudential Center. I know it’s just one game, but it’s the kind of game that the Devils will surely use to spring them into further success this season. They didn’t just beat the Penguins, they fought for the two points. The Devils finally showed the kind of effort, passion and determination that everyone has been looking for all season. New Jersey still has a woeful record of 13-18-7, but tonight is nothing but positives. The only “negative” would be Sidney Crosby’s highlight reel goal, but he’s not from this planet so we’ll let it slide.

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Travis Zajac, Welcome Back

It’s no secret that Travis Zajac has had a terrible season. Four goals and four assists this far into the season is unacceptable for the team’s highest paid player. However, tonight Zajac had easily his best game of the season scoring a goal and recording an assist on Adam Henrique’s tally. Zajac’s goal came off a rebound on the power play – a place he struggled last game against New York. It was a huge monkey off Travis’ back and hopefully he continues putting up points; the Devils need him to. Not only did he find himself with a pair of points, but his overall game was terrific. He was strong defensively and his forechecking was stellar. It’s no coincidence that Zajac’s game rose to his normal level seeing that Adam Oates is back on the bench.

Jordin Tootoo You’re The Best

The New Jersey Devils were a flat team for many games this season, and none more than when they played Pittsburgh earlier this month. That was the game where Rob Bortuzzo laid a vicious, dirty hit on Jaromir Jagr and the Devils did nothing to stick up for him. Jordin Tootoo talked a lot after that game, but he never took any action. Tonight, he was a man of his word. He said all along he would get retribution for what Bortuzzo did to Jagr, and he did. Tootoo fought Bortuzzo early in the second, a rather weak fight, but it was their second fight that period that made waves. Tootoo did not take no for an answer this time and he went right after Bortuzzo. He beat the Penguin defender to a pulp and earned the eternal respect of all the fans and his teammates. It sparked the team and was a much needed sign of life. Tootoo got third star honors for his role in the game and it was well deserved.

Dec 29, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Jordin Tootoo (20) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (41) fight during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Jaromir Jagr Gets His Revenge

As stated, Jaromir Jagr was the victim of Bortuzzo’s dirty hit last meeting in Pittsburgh. Well, what better way to make them pay than by scoring the game-winning goal? What was sweet was that Jagr scored just after the second fight Tootoo initiated. The Devils had just killed a penalty and the energy was flowing through the building. Jon Merrill made a solid defensive play to get the puck and threw it up to Jagr. The future Hall-of-Famer skated through the neutral zone and dangled his way to the right circle. Jagr then unleashed a nasty shot that went through the defender, under Marc-Andre Fleury’s blocker and in off the post. It was the most perfect course of events possible.

Things Have Changed

Tonight, the Devils showed just how things could change since they fired Peter DeBoer. The team showed the kind of energy and fight they hadn’t shown in, well, years. They were feisty all night and took the game to Pittsburgh instead of letting them control play. One of the best changes was the fact the Devils didn’t sit back with a one goal lead in the third. They attacked and forced a turnover to get that crucial third goal. They could have had more but Fleury stopped both Jagr and Zajac on breakaways. The power play set up was outstanding and the puck movement was crisp. Even Eric Gelinas was out defending a lead in the third and he had no issues.

The Devils played an almost perfect game tonight. After the first period which was a little rocky, they woke up and grabbed the game and didn’t let go. They showed what kind of result they can get when the top players step up, the role players do their job and of course the goaltending is great. I haven’t even mentioned Cory Schneider who was brilliant stopping 27 of 28 shots. This was the most enjoyable game of the entire season. The New Jersey Devils have finally woken up. Watch out.

One additional note. Stephen Gionta broke his hand blocking a shot and will be out for awhile. Another injury to a team that can’t afford them.