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Devils Victorious Again; Record Third Straight OT Win

EAST HANOVER, NJ – Most coaches tell their players to play a full 60 minutes to give them the best chance to win. Maybe, rookie head-coach John Hynes should start telling his Devil’s squad to extend their effort to 65 plus minutes to ensure a victory.

Forward Lee Stempniak scored the tying goal for New Jersey (3-3-1) with just 32 seconds remaining in the final period and then added a tally in the shootout to give the Devils a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators (3-2-2) on Thursday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.

It was the Devil’s fourth straight overtime game this season and their third victory in a row in the extra frame.

“We didn’t have our best game tonight,” Stempniak told “We got outplayed for stretches, for sure, and (goalie Cory Schneider) made some big saves. To be able to have the maturity to stick with it and come back, squeak out the point and win it in the shootout is big for us.”

It did not look good for New Jersey late in the third period. They were trailing 4-2, with the offense looking stagnant and the defense looking shaky.

Then, Adam Henrique scored off a rebound fired by Mike Cammalleri with 5:50 left before Stempniak’s late heroic effort off yet another Cammalleri shot on goal. The 32-year-old veteran has six points through the team’s first seven games this season, after making the Devil’s through a training camp tryout.

“I think the last three games, we’ve had some one sort of step up out of their comfort zone…and we feed off that,” Stempniak said.

“We’re a team that’s got to fight for every inch. There’s not very high expectations for us, but in the room we believe that we are capable of a lot more that what people expect from us.”

Certainly no one expected the Devils to have this quick of a turn around after a dismal 0-3 start. However, they now have recorded points in four straight meetings and are in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division.

Another good sign for the Devils was there continued powerplay productivity. They were 2-4 on Thursday evening.

Center Travis Zajac opened up the scoring on a snapshot when the Devils had a five on three advantage. A few minutes later, right-winger Jordin Tootoo scored with his team a man up to give New Jersey a 2-1 edge.

The Devils now have a powerplay operating at 24 percent. That ranks 7th in the NHL.

stempniak goal

Lee Stempniak of the Devil’s lifts a backhander past Ottawa goaltender Andrew Hammond for a 5-4 shootout victory. Photo Credit: Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press via AP

Just what is the Devil’s key to success in the newly formatted, 3-on-3 5:00 extra period. While many players probably can not put a finger on it, Schnieder maintains that his team has remained calm and composed with the game on the line.

“We’re just smart. I don’t think we maybe have necessarily the high-end skill and talent other teams do, but we make good defensive plays. We pick our spots well. We change early. We don’t get caught out there for a minute and (a) half, which is death in 3-on-3, guys are dying,” Schneider mentioned.

“We’re just trying to have a sound strategy and we’re sticking to it. Everybody is buying into it,” he continued.

Jacob Josefson scored in the second round of the shootout for the Devils. Schneider stopped three out of four Ottawa attempts before Stempniak beat goaltender Andrew Hammond on the stick side.

While the thrill of playing and winning a game after regulation time is exciting, many in New Jersey are hoping many of their future victories come in an easier fashion.

The Devils hope to finish off a game in 60 minutes when they travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres (2-4) on Saturday night at 7 p.m.





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