Cory Schneider steals a point for the New Jersey Devils (25-25-11) as they fall to the New York Rangers (record) in overtime, 4-3. Mike Zibanejad scored the game-winner at 1:16 in OT. The Devils got goals from Adam Henrique and Kyle Palmieri, who scored twice and had a really good chance on a breakaway in OT (but there was a suspicious no-call on the holding); Travis Zajac had two assists. New York got goals from Chris Kreider, Oscar Lindberg, and Adam Clendening. Schneider had another outstanding night in net, making 36 saves on 40 shots (.900 save percentage). Anti Raanta made 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save %).
The Devils played a complete game, the entire game. It was good to see the team come out strong and play the way they did, and they kept fighting until the very end. You could argue that if the Rangers hadn’t scored those first two goals, the game could have very well ended differently. Henrique gave the team some life with his 16th goal of the season and Palmieri tied the game and gave the Devils the lead within 47 seconds of each other. He now has 18 goals on the season and leads the team. Palmieri almost had a hat trick tonight with his breakaway(s) in overtime and he probably should have but it is what it is.
There were many, many positives out of tonight’s game. First and foremost, Schneider kept the Devils in the game all night long and gave them a chance to win. He is now 9-6-4 in his last 2o games, with a 2.26 goals against average and a .929 save percentage in that span. The Devils did manage an impressive 38 shots on goal; Beau Bennett, Michael Cammalleri, and Kyle Quincey all had five. They went 1/2 on the man advantage with a goal on Palmieri’s second of the night and they killed the Rangers’ only power play opportunity. They also had 17 hits and 13 blocked shots. So, all-in-all, it was a good game, and Schneider and the Devils deserved a better fate.
The Devils making the playoffs is a long shot and I’ve accepted their fate. It’s time to ride out the rest of the season and look forward to the future. I’m already dreading the offseason so I’m going to enjoy watching hockey as long as I can, whether or not I’ll be watching the Devils after April. The Devils are doing good things and building towards a strong, playoff-making and Cup-contending future. Are you with them? I am.
The Devils will be back in action Monday night against Montreal in their Pride Night! Puck drops at 7PM.
P.S. since we’re looking forward to the future, Mikey McLeod had a hat trick last night (and three assists!) and Nathan Bastian had a shorthanded goal. McLeod has two goals and an assist so far tonight so we are still on hatty watch at the time of this post.