3/17: New Jersey Devils Rout Wild 7-4

The New Jersey Devils, the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, beat the Minnesota Wild 7-4 yesterday. Minnesota is now one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the No. 8 seed with 11 games to play.

Devante Smith-Pelly and Mike Sislo scored 51 seconds apart 1:34 into the game and a third goal by Reid Boucher following a powerplay goal by Nino Niederreiter had the Devils up 3-1 before the end of the first period. The Wild trailed 6-2 after two.

“I don’t have an explanation,” Zach Parise told the Star Tribune.

“It’s game [71]. We have to make sure we battle,” added Nino Niederreiter. “We’re right in the race for a playoff spot. Games like that can’t happen.”

Smith-Pelly, Adam Henrique and Sislo each scored two goals for the Devils, while Jared Spurgeon had a power play goal in the second period and Justin Fontaine and Mikko Koivu added two goals in the third.

Darcy Kuemper gave up four goals and was charged for the loss, but Devan Dubnyk, who started the game and was pulled after misplaying the puck on the third goal he gave up, took responsibility for the game getting off to a bad start.

Interim coach John Torchetti and many of the players said that it wasn’t just on the goaltending however. “There’s a loose puck there for three seconds,” said Torchetti, “we’ve got to get hungrier and box out.”

“They just got a couple early on us and took the wind out of our sails,” Ryan Suter told the Associated Press. “It just seemed like we weren’t ourselves tonight. We were getting beat to loose pucks, pucks were bouncing on us. It wasn’t the type of game we needed to be successful.”

[Star Tribune, Associated Press]
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