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After a tough overtime loss the previous night, the New Jersey Devils returned to the ice with a strong rebound performance as they defeated a red-hot Stars team by a score of 5-2 in a chippy affair in Newark last night.
Steven Santini opened up the scoring to give the Devils a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. However, it didn’t take long for the Stars to respond as Martin Hanzal tied the game on the power play a little over two minutes later. The Devils looked to be heading to the first intermission tied 1-1, but with just 53 seconds remaining, Blake Coleman scored his fourth goal of the season. Kari Lehtonen couldn’t control a redirected Andy Greene point shot. Coleman was right in front for the rebound and just like that, New Jersey was up 2-1 heading into the second period.
The Stars managed to tie things up eight minutes into the second. Alex Radulov was able to muscle off Will Butcher and slide the puck past Cory Schneider to knot things up at two. The Devils responded, as the game took a physical turn. Led by Brian Boyle, his second period power play goal (his first of three points on the night) gave the Devils a 3-2 lead after Stephen Johns received a double-minor for high-sticking Miles Wood.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 16, 2017
The Devils faced some adversity to begin the third period. They soon found themselves killing off a 5-on-3 after Pavel Zacha and John Moore both took minor penalties. Fortunately, Cory Schneider was a brick wall down two men. He made a number of crucial saves, including robbing Alex Radulov on the doorstep. The Devils took advantage of the big kill, as they wouldn’t allow another goal for the game. Nick Lappin would tally his first goal of the season late in the third period. Brian Boyle sealed the deal with an empty-net goal to finish off a three point night to a secure a big 5-2 win for the Devils.
- With the Devils missing their biggest offensive threats, someone had to step up. Brian Boyle did so in a big way last night. He had two goals, three shots on goal and added an assist on Nick Lappin’s goal. Boyle has provided the Devils with some much needed depth this season by coming up with some big goals. Last night, he took his game to another level and proved why he’s been such a valuable addition to the team this season.
- Cory Schneider was fantastic in net last night. He stopped 28/30 shots and made some huge saves to keep the Devils in the game, especially late in the game when Dallas pulled Lehtonen for an extra attacker with almost four minutes remaining in regulation. Schneider’s posted a .920 save percentage or better in eight of his last nine starts. With the Devils missing some of their best skill players due to injury, Schneider has come up big in recent weeks. He’s kept the Devils in the thick of the Metropolitan Division race as they look to get healthy.
- Damon Severson didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he had a solid game last night. He was on the ice for 12 shot attempts as opposed to 8 against, the best mark on the team. He also made a couple of nice, physical defensive plays that prevented a couple of potential scoring chances. He’s had his ups and downs this season, but has been very good since being scratched earlier in the season. Last night was no different.
- Pavel Zacha seems to be slowly making progress. He had an assist on Brian Boyle’s power play goal. He was also a tenth of a second away from scoring his first goal in over two months at the end of the first period. He’s been able to generate a bit more offense over the last few games, although he still has a ways to go. That being said, if he keeps trending upward, eventually he’ll get one to fall his way. Once he scores, it’ll be a boost to his confidence and could get him going in the right direction.