Getting off to a 1-2-1 start, the Devils knew they needed to start picking up some points in short order. It turns out that their second home game of the season was just what the doctor ordered.
The Devils began the day by dedicating the Martin Brodeur statue “the Salute” outside of the Barnabas Health Hockey House and the Prudential Center. The current team gathered around the statue and had their picture taken. Later on in the evening, former Devils goaltender and current NHL Network personality Kevin Weekes would be on hand to emcee the official dedication including Devils brass and the man himself, Martin Brodeur on hand. The dedication was filmed and broadcast in the arena on the jumbotron for fans who could not be out on the bleachers set up around the statue.
Once all of the festivities were out of the way, the task of playing the game between the Devils and the Wild was at hand. Minnesota’s Zach Parise, the former Devils’ captain, got his customary boo’s every touch of the puck and things were under way at the Prudential Center.
The Devils also honored another former captain, as Scott Stevens was back in the house as an assistant coach with the Wild. He got a video tribute and a nice standing ovation from the crowd.
Devan Dubnyk got the call in net for the Wild, making 30 saves on 32 Devils shots. Cory Schneider for the Devils made 28 saves on 29 Minnesota shots and was again his usual stellar self.
After a scoreless first period, the Wild got on the board very early in the second period when 1 minute into the second frame, Joel Eriksson Ek scored off an assist from Jason Zucker. The puck was kept in at the Devils’ blueline and a shot eluded Schneider as he was trying to cover up. It sort of popped up over him and into the net as it was chipped in by Eriksson Ek.
The Devils were down 1-0 but still had plenty of time.
At 11:56 of the third period, PA Parenteau tied things up when the Devils dug the puck out of their own near corner by Travis Zajac, headmanning to Parenteau, who quickly gave to Michael Cammalleri. Cammalleri gave the puck back to Parenteau on a 3-on-2, who fired the puck from the top of the faceoff circle on the rush, beating Dubnyk to tie it at one.
And that was how it would stay through regulation. The Devils were headed to overtime for the second time this season and the first time since their season opener in Florida (which they lost).
Taylor Hall was brought in partly because of his work in the OHL with Adam Henrique. They had yet to really click at the NHL level, but they would connect tonight. It only took 29 seconds into the extra session for Hall to end it. After a Wild turnover in the Devils’ zone and a rush up the ice, Hall and Henrique criss-crossed up the ice with Hall dropping the puck to Henrique just inside the Wild blueline. Henrique found Hall in the slot and he fired five-hole, beating Dubnyk and winning the game for the Devils 2-1.
Every game the Devils have played this season, win or lose, has been by one goal. This game was no different, but it was a good one for the Devils. Hall showed exactly why the Devils gave up so much for him, as he scored the game winner once the puck was put on the tape of his stick. He knew exactly what to do with it and looked good doing it. The team also got a win against a very good team, which has to up their confidence.
Next up for the Devils, their homestand continues on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes have not had a good start to their season and could be low-hanging fruit for the Devils. Hopefully, the team can score a few more goals to make things a little bit less nerve wracking for fans.