Right winger Damien Brunner and defenseman Eric Gelinas had a goal
and two assists apiece as the Devils blitzed the St. Louis Blues
from start to finish in a 7-1 shellacking.
"It was a great night. It's too bad more people didn't see it,"
Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "Boy, the people that braved the
weather today to come out and give us the support that they did ...
I was expecting couple hundred people, and we ended up with a good
crowd. It was a great effort by them to get out to see us tonight."
This blizzard that ravaged parts of the Northeast resulted in the
cancellation of Tuesday's game in Philadelphia between the Flyers
and Carolina Hurricanes. Roads throughout northern New Jersey were
nearly impossible to navigate, as it took right winger Jaromir Jagr
nearly two hours to get to the arena.
Jagr offered his own take on why there were so few fans at the 7
"Maybe they thought the game was starting at 8 o'clock," he said.
That appeared to be when the Blues thought the game was to begin, as
they were nearly run out of the building in the first three minutes.
"They just outplayed us from the get-go," St. Louis left winger
Alexander Steen said.
Defenseman Mark Fayne and left winger Ryan Carter scored 24 seconds
apart to give the Devils an early 2-0 lead. The Blues responded with
a goal from Steen, but Jagr had a puck bank off his skate and past
goaltender Brian Elliott, increasing the lead to 3-1 after 10:27 of
the opening period.
Elliott allowed three goals on nine shots and saw his night end
about a minute after Jagr's goal.
The Devils (21-19-11) scored their final four goals on Jaroslav
Halak, who made just 10 saves in relief of Elliott. The seventh goal
of the night was scored by Gelinas, whose hard dump-in along the
boards banked off Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, into the pads
of Halak, rode up the goaltender's stick, bounced off his back and
into the net.
It was a night when almost everything went the Devils' way.
"We haven't gotten many breaks this year, and those things tend to
even themselves out if you keep working hard at it," DeBoer said.
"We got some tonight. We caught them at the end of a trip. They were
a little bit off. But to our credit, we found a way to put them
away, a very good team."
[to top of second column]
The Blues were coming of a convincing 4-1 victory against the
Red Wings in Detroit on Monday night. St. Louis (33-11-5) owns
one of the league's best records, but it lost for the fourth
time in six games.
Blues captain David Backes offered no excuses for what was the
team's worst showing this season.
"I wish I had an explanation that would turn you head over
heels," Backes said. "If I did, we would've fixed it after being
down two in the first five minutes. It's an unacceptable start.
It's a combination of our lack of willingness to go into the
hard areas to win those battles along with them willing to do
those things all game long.
"They're a team that plays in your face, plays fast, makes you
move pucks sooner than you want to (move) it to the place you
don't want to. From that, they create a lot of offense. If it
wasn't for our goalies, you might be seeing double digits
While the Blues are scuffling but fighting for one of the top
spots in the West, the Devils are 4-1-3 in their past eight
games and still outside the playoff picture in the East. Their
53 points are one fewer than the total of the Columbus Blue
Jackets, who own the second wild-card spot and have played two
fewer games than New Jersey.
The Devils won't play again until Friday, when they host the
Washington Capitals in a key East matchup between two teams
fighting to crack a postseason spot.
Jagr knows blowing out the Blues won't mean anything when the
puck is dropped on that game.
"It's an extra bonus," Jagr said of beating a team as good as
St. Louis, "but we got a big game Friday. We're fighting for the
playoffs with them. Nobody is going to ask before the game what
was the score on Tuesday. We have to do it again."
NOTES: Devils G Cory Schneider made 26 saves. ... Blues LW
Vladimir Tarasenko (illness) was scratched. He is tied for
fourth on the team with 15 goals. ... St. Louis G Brian Elliott
was pulled from a game for the second time this season. ...
Devils RW Damien Brunner returned to the lineup after missing 14
games with a sprained right knee. He suffered the injury on Dec.
20 against the Anaheim Ducks. ... Devils C Adam Henrique missed
the third period with an undisclosed injury. Coach Peter DeBoer
said he wasn't concerned but would know more Wednesday.
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