It’s official, the curse is finally lifted. On the 600th day since their last shootout win on March 10, 2013, the New Jersey Devils have won in a shootout, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1! Blake Wheeler opened the scoring for the Jets just about 7 minutes into the first period on a breakaway, just barely able to squeak the puck between Devils goaltender Cory Schneider’s left pad and the post.
Michael Ryder was able to tie the game for New Jersey on his 2nd goal of the season with just 3:27 remaining in regulation. Ryder received a pass at the top of the circles from Jon Merrill, who was down in the left corner, and took it in towards the net. Ryder dangled around Jets defenseman Mark Stuart, was hooked down after he got past him, and as he was falling to his knees, roofed one top shelf over the left shoulder of Andrej Pavelec. The Prudential Center crowd erupted.
This was a very physical game right from the get-go. Notable hits were thrown by the likes of Andy Greene, who hip-checked Mark Scheifele into the Devils’ bench door, and Adam Larsson. Jon Merrill was leveled by Dustin Byfuglien, among countless other hits from the game.
Jaromir Jagr had two glorious opportunities to end the game in the final seconds of regulation, as well as in overtime. He had a great wrist shot that was gloved down by Pavelec in the closing seconds of regulation, and was also denied by the pad of Pavelec on a partial breakaway.
In the shootout, the Devils sent out Damien Brunner as the first shooter, who took it in and rang one off the right pipe. Blake Wheeler shot first for the Jets, and was denied by Schneider. Up next was another unlikely candidate for New Jersey: Jacob Josefson, who had a beautiful breakaway goal in the last game against the Penguins. Josefson threw a head-fake, did a forehand-backhand deke, got Pavelec down and out, then wristed a shot forehand into the top of the open cage. Andrew Ladd looked to tie the game for the Jets, but was also turned away by Schneider. Patrik Elias looked to seal the win for New Jersey, but again Pavelec had the answer. Bryan Little was the third and final shooter for the Jets, looking to keep his team alive, but missed the net. If you thought the Prudential Center crowd was loud after Ryder’s goal, you should have heard it after the shootout victory.
All in all, it was a very physical game for the Devils. The team looked good after they were trying to rebound from a poor performance in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. Getting their first shootout win after 18 failed attempts was a great way to rebound. What were your thoughts on the game? What were the pros? Cons? What can the team do next game to build off of this win? Who were your three stars? Give us your complete thoughts!