May the Fourth be With You: Devils Win Fourth Straight

The New Jersey Devils won their fourth straight contest on Tuesday night by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 4-3. The Devils are now 9-1-1 since the All Star Break. New Jersey also extended their point total to 74 on Tuesday night, good enough for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils came out strong in the first period. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov was in the lineup after taking a puck to the face in Montreal on Sunday evening; Volchenkov played great, as he has all year. Martin Brodeur continued his great play in the first period of tonight’s game, stopping eight of nine shots that came his way. The Devils set a new club record by scoring the first goal in nine consecutive games; Petr Sykora scored 9:44 into the first period to give New Jersey a 1-0 lead. David Clarkson added to the lead with his 23rd goal of the season at 14:16 into the period. Tim Connolly scored 16 seconds later to bring the Maple Leafs within one.

The Devils defense continued to look strong in the second period. However, a key turnover led to a Toronto goal 14:43 into the period. Clarke MacArthur netted his 18th goal of the season to tie the game at two. Martin Brodeur denied the Leafs on several other scoring opportunities. Alexei Ponikarovsky answered for the Devils at 18:11 into the period as he trickled one through the legs of Toronto goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. Both teams went 0-for-1 on the power play in the second period and New Jersey carried a 3-2 lead into the third.

Again, the Devils defense looked great in the third period. Anton Volchenkov blocked several Toronto shots in front of the net. Despite a great defensive effort, the Leafs scored with just 44 seconds to play to tie the game at three, as Phil Kessel scored his 31st goal of the season. With the game going into overtime, the crowd was energized and the Leafs seemed to have gained some momentum.

Both teams played energized in the overtime period and had great chances to win the game. Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner rang a slap shot off the pipe 52 seconds into overtime and the Leafs failed to score on the rebound. New Jersey took control of the puck and skated into the offensive zone. Ilya Kovalchuk took a shot that went wide; Adam Henrique got the rebound off the boards and sent it back to Mark Fayne. Fayne took a shot that appeared to have been going wide, but Gustavsson deflected the puck back into his own net to send the Devils to victory.

The Devils are back in action on Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils will celebrate Doc Emrick night at 7 PM EST and will be looking for their fifth consecutive victory.

Here’s a look at the current standings in the Eastern Conference: