By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils went 2-1-1 this past week, picking up five of a possible eight points against four teams below them in the overall standings.
The Devils beat the Panthers, 4-2, Sunday night at Prudential Center. Mike Cammalleri scored one goal and assisted on another in the win. Cammalleri has four goals and three assists over New Jersey’s last three games, with at least one goal and one assist in each game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since 2010-11 the only other Devils to notch at least one goal and one assist in three consecutive games are Adam Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk. They had three-game streaks in January 2012.
The Devils lost to the Flyers in overtime, 4-3, Friday night in Newark. But they salvaged one point in the standings thanks to Cammalleri’s power-play goal with one minute left in the third period that tied the game at three.
It was the third time this season that a New Jersey player scored a tying goal in the final minute of the third period; according to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other NHL team has done that more than once.
The Devils’ other last-minute, game-tying goals this season were scored by Lee Stempniak on October 22nd at Ottawa — who tied the game 4-4 with 32 seconds left in an eventual 5-4 shootout win — and Kyle Palmieri on November 28 at Montreal. His goal with 22 seconds remaining tied the game, and the Devils would go on to win, 3-2, in overtime.
Elias noted that this is the first season in which the Devils have scored at least three such tying goals since 2006-07, when they set a franchise record with six (three by Brian Gionta and one each from Jim Dowd, Zach Parise and John Madden).
Cammalleri scored two goals and had one assist in the Devils’ 5-1 win over the Hurricanes in Raleigh last Thursday night. It was Cammalleri’s NHL-leading fifth three-point game this season.
Cammalleri, who did not have a three-point game in his 68 games played last season with New Jersey, is the first Devils player to have at least five games of three points or more in one season since Kovalchuk had nine in 2011-12.
Here are the Devils with the most three-point games in a season since 1987-88:
· Kirk Muller: 11, 1987-88
· John MacLean: 10, 1988-89
· Aaron Broten: 10, 1987-88
· Ilya Kovalchuk: 9, 2011-12
· Scott Gomez: 9, 2005-06
· Patrik Elias: 9, 2000-01
· Claude Lemieux: 9, 1992-93
· Zach Parise: 8, 2008-09
· Petr Sykora: 8, 2000-01
The Devils lost to the Avalanche, 2-1, last Tuesday night in Newark. The loss was New Jersey’s eighth in their last nine games against the Avs dating back to February 26, 2009. In that game, Martin Brodeur returned after missing 50 games following elbow surgery and posted his 99th career shutout with a 4-0 win.
The last Devils victory against the Avalanche was on March 15, 2012, a 1-0 shootout win at Prudential Center, also with Brodeur in goal. No New Jersey goaltender other than Brodeur has ever defeated the Avalanche since they relocated from Quebec prior to the 1995-96 NHL season. Craig Billington was the last Devils goalie besides Brodeur to beat the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise. He led them to a 6-3 win in Quebec on November 28, 1992.
Plus: Father’s Days — New Jersey went 2-0-1 in the three games where the fathers of the players and staff accompanied the team.
Minus: Travis Zajac — The Devils lost their center to an upper-body injury early in the game at Carolina. Zajac, who did not play in Sunday’s game vs. Florida, is 11th in ice time per game (20:05) among all NHL centers.