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Merrill’s First of Season GWG for Devils in 2-1 Win Over Wild

Merrill gets game winner.

zajac zucker

Travis Zajac of the Devils does battle with Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild. Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

EAST HANOVER, NJ – Defenseman Jon Merrill scored his first goal in 82 NHL games and it was a big one. He broke a 1-1 draw at the 13:34 mark of the third that ended up being the game winner for the New Jersey Devils (21-17-5). They snapped a three-game skid with a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild (22-12-8) at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday night.

Merrill’s goal was the 5th of his NHL career; three of those have been game winners.

A give and go with teammate Sergey Kalinin set up a wrist shot for Merrill as he beat Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper on the glove side, just 3:21 after Minnesota tied it.

After the first two periods were scoreless, Adam Henrique broke through with the game’s first score in the third.

He lasered a wrist shot from the left circle that appeared to deflect off a stick before finding the back of the net.

Wild forward Zach Parise, who spent his first seven years in the league on the Devils, scored his first goal against his former team to even things up at one apiece at the beginning of the third.

Corey Schneider did not have to do much work through the first 40 minutes. He faced only seven shots and stopped each one.

The Wild did pull Kuemper with just over two minutes remaining in a frantic effort to tie the contest. Schneider did a solid job against the offensive surge, including a fantastic stop on forward Thomas Vanek who was parked right on the doorstep with a great opportunity.

The win snaps a three-game losing streak for New Jersey. They are tied with the Boston Bruins (21-14-5) for a wildcard spot and sit only two points behind the Rangers (22-14-5) and the Islanders (22-15-5) for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

They will next travel to St. Loius to take on the Blues (24-14-7) on Tuesday night at 8 p.m.    

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