New York, NY: A bad bounce in the third period led to the Minnesota Wild (19-15-5) edging the New Jersey Devils (10-27-2) in hockey action on Tuesday night. New Jersey just hasn’t had much luck this season, ever since the signing of sniper Ilya Kovalchuk at the beginning of the year.
Minnesota would have many good opportunities to start the first period including a 18 foot wrister by Andrew Brunette at the 4:21 mark, but that shot was stopped by Devils keeper Johan Hedberg. The keeper would make another good save at the 6:06 mark stuffing a 65 foot wrister by Martin Havlat.
The Wild held the shots advantage over the Devils in the first period by a tally of 8-1. Captain Jamie Langenbrunner tried a 23 foot wrister at the 11:21 mark, but he would be denied by Wild keeper Jose Theodore.
Cal Clutter (11) would record the first Minnesota goal at the 11:48 mark of that frame netting a 15 foot wrister, to give the Wild the 1-0 lead.
As the two teams would head to the ice for the second period of play, when the sniper struck for the first Devils goal at the 3:07 mark. Kovalchuk (10) would get a 33 foot wrister, which was assisted by Travis Zajac (15) and Nick Palmieri (11) to tie the score up at 1-1.
New Jersey would try to keep up the offensive pressure at the 4:48 mark when Rod Pelly tried a 34 foot wrister, but he would be denied by Theodore. Minnesota would respond with a good shot at the 9:50 mark when Mikko Koivu tried a 35 foot wrister, but Hedberg would deny that opportunity from going in the cage.
Both squads would continue to try to record the game-winner as Minnesota would get another good shot at the 13:20 mark, when Martin Havlat tried for a 26 foot snap shot that was stopped by Hedberg. Brian Roloson would try for a 36 foot wrister for the Devils at the 17:03 mark, but was stuffed by Jose Theodore.
Theodore would stop the Devils again at the 18:40 mark when Andy Green tried a 41 foot wrister at the 18:40 mark. When the horn sounded to end the second period of play the Devils were able to turn the tables over the Wild in the shot department by a tally of 13-4 in that frame.
Minnesota was able to take the 2-1 lead in the third period, on the bad bounce that once again continues to haunt the Devils. It happened at the 1:14 mark when a wild dump-in went off the boards, taking Johan Hedberg out of the cage. Clayton Stoner (1) was in perfect position to notch his first NHL goal, which was assisted by Martin Havlat (27) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (7).
New Jersey would try to tie the game up at the 5:43 mark when Travis Zajac tried for a 38 foot wrister, but he would be denied yet again by the play of Theodore. Johan Hedberg would respond with a save on the other end at the 8:53 mark when Matt Cullen tried to add to the Wild lead with a 48 foot wrister. A second attempt would be made by the Devils at the 5:43 mark, when Travis Zajac tried a 38 foot wrister which was stuffed by Jose Theodore
Theodore would finish the night with 21 saves, while on the other side of the ice Johan Hedberg finished with 16 saves. Another huge part to the Wild victory on this night was the fact that Minnesota, who had 17 blocked shots to the Devils nine.
The Devils will look to change their fortune against a very tough team. It will be a home-and-home series with the Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers starting on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. in New Jersey. Then the series heads to Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon for a 1:00 p.m. face-off.