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Early Surge for Devils Enough to Defeat Blackhawks, 4-2

Jordin Tootoo, Steve Bernier, Stephen Gionta, Scott Darling

Jordin Tootoo, Steve Bernier, Stephen Gionta celebrate a goal in a previous match-up between the Devils and Blackhawks. Photo Credit: Ed Mullholland – USA TODAY Sports

devils goalssEAST HANOVER, NJ – The New Jersey Devils (7-5-1) are continuing to defy the odds and silence their critics as they won their 7th game in nine tries on Friday night at the Prudential Center in Newark.

This time, it came against a very formidable opponent in the defending Stanley Cup Champions, Chicago Blackhawks (7-6-1). Lee Stempniak, Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac scored three straight in the first period, Mike Cammalleri added one in the second and New Jersey held on in the final frame for the 4-2 victory.

The Devils first goal was probably one of their prettiest of the season. Stempniak kept pressuring Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in the offensive zone. He eventually stole the puck from him and made a beautiful deke to beat goaltender Corey Crawford.

Goaltender Cory Schneider did a solid job for New Jersey; especially early on when his team was in the midst of building their big lead. His best save came off a diving glove stop when Ryan Garbutt of the Blackhawks found himself on a breakaway, after emerging from the penalty box. Schneider stopped 27 of 29 shots on Friday night.

Palmieri scored a quick goal off a bouncing puck that found his stick right after an offensive zone face-off. Less than a minute later, Zajac gathered his own rebound in front before beating Crawford on his second try. That goal chased Crawford for the game and helped New Jersey build a 3-0 lead heading into the second period.

Then, Cammalleri scored his first goal in five games when he ripped a wrister from the slot off a nice feed from defenseman Damon Severson.

Schneider gave up a goal to Patrick Kane late in the second period off a wrist shot as he appeared to be screened in front of his net. Tanner Kero scored late in the third period when Chicago pulled goaltender Scott Darling, but it was too little too late and New Jersey hung on for the victory

This was certainly a statement victory for the Devils and they were more dominant in this contest then the final score would indicate. Even after building an early lead against a team that many thought would come out on top, they continued to get quality chances off crisp passes and timely deflections against the Blackhawks. They finished with 26 shots on goal.

The Devils will look to win their second game in a three game homestand when they face off against the Vancouver Canucks (6-3-4) this Sunday at 5 p.m.









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