The New Jersey Devils headed to Edmonton on Friday night during the second leg of their western Canadian road trip. After suffering an embarrassing defeat on Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks, the Devils battled it out and won, giving them an even bigger lead in the Atlantic Division.
To ignite some passion into a very slow first period, Edmonton’s Zack Stortini began looking around to start some mayhem. As he stood at the face-off, he exchanged a few aggressive words with David Clarkson. After the puck was dropped, Clarkson rushed off the ice for a line change. Stortini pursued him, but Clarkson had already jumped off the ice. He instantly turned and tried to go after Patrik Elias, but was intercepted by Arron Asham at 12:19. Asham decided to take Stortini’s challenge and they had it out in front of the Devils bench, which got everyone in the arena riled up.
Shortly thereafter, Edmonton got their hopes up a little too soon when they assumed they scored a goal at 11:10. Edmonton native Fernando Pisani celebrated his goal prematurely and was in shock when the official informed him that it would not count. Goalie interference was called because he had pushed Martin Brodeur back into the net, dislodging it, when the puck crossed the goal line. It wasn’t until 15:15 that the Oilers could truly celebrate a goal, when Ales Hemsky attempted to get a shot on goal. Brodeur stopped the attempt with the tip of his stick, but it was Joni Pitkanen that came in behind and slipped the puck past Brodeur for Edmonton’s lone goal of the night.
After going five periods with no goals in the past two games, the Devils began to bounce back in the third stanza shortly after the Oilers called for a timeout. Elias tied the game at 5:00 and 35 seconds later, the Devils were leading after Brian Gionta sent a rebound past Mathieu Garon. With only 29 seconds left in regulation, John Madden concluded the Devils’ scoring by sending the puck down from one end of the ice to the other, and potting the empty-netter to seal the Devils win at 3-1.
Garon received the second star of the game after making 30 saves, while Elias and Gionta took home the other two stars. Brodeur is now tied for first in the Eastern Conference in wins after recording his 17th of the season. He is currently one game behind league leader Evgeni Nabokov.
The Devils face the Calgary Flames on Sunday during the final leg of their road trip. They remain in sole possession of first place and have a 3-point advantage over the New York Rangers.