In the midst of their longest losing streak in over 10 years the New Jersey Devils found ways to win against the loose Tampa Bay Lightning and a very desperate Buffalo Sabres club.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ New Jersey Devils
If ever there was a bottom of the ninth inning in hockey the New Jersey Devils found themselves in it against the very loose Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night. With the Devils down 2-0 late in the second period Tampa’s goalie Ramo was called on throwing his stick at a puck veering towards his net and the Devils were awarded a penalty shot. Brent Sutter made yet another great call this season by choosing his savvy veteran Brendan Shanahan to help cut into Tampa’s advantage and in the big picture help snap the Devils losing streak. Shanahan cashed in and breathed life into the Devils that had not been seen in 7 games to help kick start a comeback. Healthy scratch of late Jay Pandolfo scored the tying goal and Jamie Langenbrunner scored the go ahead goal all before the end of the second period. At this point it appeared that the Devils may have finally beaten the monkey off their backs, when the losing streak came a calling again when Ryan Malone tied the game up early in the third period. The Devils captain responded again with a go ahead goal 8 minutes later when Lightning struck again! Karsum’s scored at the 14:06 mark and the two teams skated to overtime. The fork in the road stared the Devils in the face yet again, to the left was 7 losses in a row and to the right was a HUGE goal to break their longest losing streak in over 10 years! Enter Travis Zajac and Zach Parise with a horrible dump out of the zone by the Lightning Paul Martin rushed back into the zone and passed up the wing to Zajac and he and Parise jail broke their way to the biggest goal in over 7 games to catapult the Devils to a much needed win. Martin Brodeur was honoured at the beginning of the evening with a ceremony for his 552 wins and Kevin Weekes suffered a knee energy which has now opened the door for the season’s hero Scott Clemmenson to return to the fray.
New Jersey Devils @ Buffalo Sabres
Coming off a huge emotional lift against the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning the Devils exploded out of the gate with a goal by David Clarkson at the 2:28 mark of the first period. Zach Parise scored his 44th goal of the season at the 5:38 mark on a beautiful tip off a Paul Martin point shot. The Captain Jamie Langenbrunner scored a goal at the 7:04 mark of the 2nd period to give the Devils a 3-0 lead. The Buffalo Sabres left the ice to a parade of boo’s by their faithful and the Devils were well on their way to their second straight win when the 6 loss demon came a calling again! Hecht started the Devils fan’s heart’s pumping at the 6:04 mark of the 3rd period on a back hand goal and Clarke MacCarther scored at the 16:18 mark to bring this down to the wire. With the Sabres buzzing and a playoff shot dwindling they made their last huge push peppering Brodeur with shots when Colin White took a delay of penalty call at the 19:25 mark to give a the Sabres a 6 on 4 advantage with 45 second remaining. The Devils defence and goaltending of old came up big to help preserve a 3-2 win and help the Devils take another big step at regaining their composure of 8 games ago.
With these 2 very testing wins are the New Jersey Devils officially back? Not yet but well on their way, as I said in my earlier blog about the losing streak that every team will go through this and they have the remaining 5 games at the time to climb their way out of it. With the Leafs, Senators and Hurricaines on deck the New Jersey Devils will look to regain their game of old for the most important part of the season and that’s the post season!!
Jersey Jay aka Jayson Saikaley
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Written by Jayson Saikaley