Damon Severson Returns As Young Defense Leads Devils Over Nashville


On a night where the New Jersey Devils welcomed rookie Damon Severson back to the lineup, it was fitting that the young defense would lead the way. Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas both scored early to pace the Devils to a 3-1 victory over the NHL point leading Nashville Predators. Damon Severson ended up playing 16:21 – by far his lowest ice time of the season – and that makes sense seeing as it was his first game since December 15 at the New York Islanders. Severson had missed 31 games with a fractured ankle that he actually suffered December 6 vs. Washington while blocking an Alex Ovechkin shot. The fact he played on that ankle for five more games is unbelievable. Hockey players, right?

Mar 3, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson (5) skates with the puck while being defended by Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones (3) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

After having two days off, one of which encompassed the trade deadline that saw Marek Zidlicky traded to Detroit, the Devils came out of the gate strong. They jumped all over the Predators who were playing in the second game of a back-to-back after losing last night to the New York Rangers. It only took 58 seconds for the Devils to get on the board and it was courtesy of Adam Larsson. Patrik Elias found the trailing Larsson who ripped a shot past backup Carter Hutton and in off the pipe. It was Adam’s career-high third goal of the season, which may not seem like much, but for a young man who was always hurt and benched he truly is having a career year. He also set a career-high with his 19th point. With Zidlicky traded, he now leads all of New Jersey’s defense in points and is tied for sixth on the team.

It only took three minutes for the Devils to get another and this time it was Eric Gelinas on the power play. Scott Gomez and Steve Bernier played catch before Gomer laid a pass off to Gelinas at the blue line. Gelly unleashed his bomb of a slap shot and Hutton stood no chance. That puck was a laser heading into the top corner of the net. A 2-0 lead after four minutes against the NHL’s best was a fantastic feeling. It was the first time that Larsson and Gelinas both scored in the same game; it’s only their 46th game together due to injuries and benchings. They were both named stars of the game and this is the only appropriate way to celebrate that:

Who was the first star of the game? Well that honor went to Cory Schneider. After the first period it didn’t seem like he would see much work as Nashville was only able to muster three shots, although one of those was a 2-on-1 at the end of the period where Schneider made a huge save. Then the second period came and the Predators woke up. They peppered Cory with 21 shots and only one found its way through. It was the second time this season against Nashville that the Devils allowed 20+ shots in a period.

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The third period was more of the same as Cory Schneider had to face 10 more shots and he was equal to all of them. All-in-all he made 33 saves and moved his personal record to 24-23-6 but more impressive he is tied for second in the NHL with Pekka Rinne boasting a .928 SV%. He’s also tied for fourth in the league with a 2.17 GAA. He has been immaculate this season and the only reason the Devils are only seven points behind Boston for the final playoff spot.

Mike Cammalleri, perhaps another reason, was able to score his 24th goal of the season – by far the team lead – when Nashville had an empty net. He was tripped up and never actually put the puck in the net, but he was awarded the automatic goal.

It was a big win for the Devils and hopefully they can keep their momentum going Friday night against the ailing Columbus Blue Jackets who Cory Schneider just shut out on Saturday.

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