Back on March 10th, 2013, I attended a Devils game with my buddies against the Winnipeg Jets which ended in victory via the shootout. Johan Hedberg got the win for the Devils, and Patrik Elias potted the game-winning goal on his signature leg-kick backhand move. Great game, but little did we know it would be the last shootout victory for the Devils for the next year and a half.
During that time it was simply frustration; 18 straight shootout losses while losing all 13 last season and going an unprecedented 4-for-45 on shooting attempts. Everyone had just about given up hope after the way Dallas manhandled the Devils in the first shootout of the year. However I’m so glad that I can finally say, to every single Devils fan out there…
IT’S OVER!!! THE DEVILS WIN A SHOOTOUT!!!
It was a great night at the ‘Rock’ as after going down 1-0 early in the first period on a goal by Blake Wheeler, the Devils rallied late on a great individual effort by Michael Ryder. Ryder made a slick moved right around Winnipeg defensemen Mark Stuart and roofed it right over the glove of goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. They then went on to seal their first shootout win of the year on the heels of Jacob Josefson’s second round goal and Cory Schneider’s three straight saves.
After playing through a relatively chance free overtime, the shootout began with Damian Brunner ringing a shot off the post. Wheeler was first for the Jets as he came in and basically stick handled himself into a pretzel along with Cory Schneider getting his goal-stick in there to poke it away.
Surprising to most, Deboer elected to go with former 1st round pick in 2009, Jacob Josefson for the second round. Josefson scored a beautiful short-handed goal on a breakaway in Pittsburgh the other night and didn’t disappoint tonight as he came in and pulled an excellent head-fake which completely fooled Pavelec. With the Jets goaltender down-and-out, Josefson easily deposited the puck in the back of a wide-open net.
“I wanted to do exactly what I did. I had a move in my head, so I just tried to do it as good as possible,” said Josefson on his shootout move.
The Jets then decided to go with Andrew Ladd as their second shooter as he came down from the right and did a quick backhand-forehand move which Schneider denied with the blocker.
Patrik Elias had a chance to close-it-out for the Devils but couldn’t make good of it as he attempted his signature leg-kick backhand move which was stopped by the left pad of Pavelec.
In the end it came down to Cory Schneider vs. Brian Little. Little raced down the left side of the ice and rifled a shot that sailed wide right past the glove of Schneider which caused the anxious crowd to erupt in pure elation.
Pete Deboer said after the game, ” We got a couple of monkeys off our back there and we can move forward, so it was a big two points.” Deboer also said if Schneider, “doesn’t play as well as he did tonight, we obviously don’t get anything.”
Even though the Devils finally managed to win a shootout. Schneider kept things in perspective, “We can’t just say we won one and everything’s good now. We’ve got to keep working at it and win more of these.” He’s not wrong as I can only imagine how Devil fans would react if their team on two shootouts in a row… chaos, pandemonium, only time will tell.
What does this mean for the Devils?
Well for starters it puts them at 5-3-2 on the season which is good for 12 points and puts them in a tie for 2nd in the division with the New York Islanders, and one point shy Pittsburgh.
Aside from that, face it here; this win gives the Devils a ton confidence and removes all the weight off their shoulders that’s been building for far too long. No longer will they have to be reminded of the infamous 18-game streak, and no longer will they have to be reminded of going 4-for-45 last season.
Its been grueling, rough, dreadful, excruciating, embarrassing, and any other ridiculous word you can think of. This isn’t just a simple step in the right direction. It’s a gigantic leap.
Full shootout can be viewed here.
Corey Spina lives in Wayne, New Jersey. He is a senior at Centenary College, and is majoring in Communications/Journalism. Corey is in his second season covering the New Jersey Devils for The Hockey Writers, he completed a sports journalism internship with TAPinto, and he is the Host/Producer of the Sports Buzz on WNTI.org.