Jordin Tootoo’s Gordie Howe Hat Trick Paces Devils Over Coyotes


The New Jersey Devils are the most inconsistent team I’ve ever seen. Tonight, to start the game against the Arizona Coyotes, the Devils looked like they didn’t belong on the same sheet of ice. They were taking a beating and only Cory Schneider could save them. The first half of the game was a pitiful display of hockey… and then they woke up. Led by Jordin Tootoo‘s Gordie Howe Hat Trick (a goal, assist and fight) the Devils were able to dominate the final 30 minutes en route to a 4-1 victory at Gila River Arena.

Mar 14, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) shoots the puck as Arizona Coyotes left wing Lauri Korpikoski (28) defends during the second period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Jordin Tootoo started his quest for the Gordie by getting into an early scrap with B.J. Crombeen. Tootoo nugded Arizona goalie Mike Smith and Crombeen took exception. Then Stephen Gionta got a bit feisty and it looked like the Devils were going to play an inspired game. Whoops. As I said, they were simply awful for 30 minutes. I was ranting and raving on Twitter about calling up kids from Albany and hating what I was watching. Well, I still believe the kids from Albany should be called up. When Dainius Zubrus – eight points this miserable season – is in the slot of your power play, there’s a problem.

Things were looking grim and then the Devils got a late second period power play. Travis Zajac ripped a wild shot from the point that airmailed the net and Adam Henrique masterfully batted the rebound out of mid-air to put New Jersey on top. In the third, the Devils didn’t sit back like they usually do. Instead they added to their lead quickly as Gionta put home the rebound of a Jordin Tootoo shot (there’s his assist) just 50 seconds in. Damon Severson picked up the secondary assist on the play which was his second of the game. It’s great to see him get back on the board in a big way after his lengthy injury.

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  • Arizona would get one back on a silky deflection by long-time captain Shane Doan, but the Devils said not so fast. Jordin Tootoo took just 20 seconds to restore the two-goal lead. He started the play by chipping a puck up to Travis Zajac who came in on a 2-on-1 with Mike Cammalleri. He made a perfect pass to Cammy but Smith made the save. Tootoo trailed the play and put home the rebound. Gordie Howe Hat Trick complete. Cammalleri would add a goal of his own just minutes later with the assists going to Andy Greene and Adam Larsson.

    All-in-all four Devils (Tootoo, Cammalleri, Zajac, Severson) had multi-point nights. However, that wouldn’t have been a story if it wasn’t for the play of Cory Schneider. The Devils’ elite netminder kept New Jersey in it early when they should have been blown out of the water. Overall he made 30 saves and brought his record back to NHL .500 at 25-25-7. Cory Schneider absolutely should be in the Vezina conversation.

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