Devils 6, Thrashers 5 (Final)
New Jersey Devils
newjerseydevils.com (Oct. 13) –
Up by a goal after one period, and down by a goal after two, the Devils held on for a wild 6-5 win over the Thrashers Saturday night in Atlanta.Patrik Elias
scored twice, including the final tiebreaker, for his first two goals of the season, as the Devils (2-3-0) kept the Thrashers winless on the season.Martin Brodeur
stopped 12 of 17 shots in his first victory of 2007-08.
After the Thrashers came up with three second-period goals to erase a 2-1 Devils lead, Jay Pandolfo's marker with 19 seconds left in the middle frame brought the Devils back to within one at 4-3.
Still without a point in the standings, Atlanta had not registered as many as three goals in any of its four previous games. But the stage was set for a furious back-and-forth in the third period.
Facing a potential 1-4-0 record heading into Wednesday's meeting with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, the Devils got goals from Travis Zajac
and Sergei Brylin to take back a 5-4 lead with less than eight minutes remaining.
But Ilya Kovalchuk, whose power-play goal at 0:22 of the second period had tied the score at 2-2, struck again, this time knotting the game at 5-5.
The Devils continued to pressure, and soon forced Atlanta's hand. Defenseman Garnet Exelby wrestled down Zach Parise
behind the Thrashers net at 18:15, giving New Jersey a power play with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
Elias and Paul Martin manned the points on the ensuing power play, and Elias rocketed a one-timer off of a Martin pass through Atlanta netminder Kari Lehtonen to break the 5-5 tie with 28 seconds left.
The victory over Atlanta gives the Devils their first win since defeating Florida, 4-1, last Saturday. Entering tonight's action, road teams trailing after two periods were 3-28-0 (.097).
John Madden opened the game's scoring in the first period with his third of the season, a power-play marker that gave the Devils a 1-0 lead.
Rushing the puck into Atlanta territory, Arron Asham backhanded a pass to Dainius Zubrus
, who put a shot on net. The rebound spun out in front of Lehtonen, and Madden banged home the rebound.
Atlanta's Darren Haydar evened the score at 1-1, but late in the first, Elias and the Devils capitalized on a holding call against Atlanta forward Brett Sterling.
With New Jersey controlling the puck in the Atlanta zone, Elias broke toward the net from his perch at the left point. Zajac controlled the puck to Lehtonen's left, and slipped Elias a backdoor pass that redirected past Lehtonen for New Jersey's second goal at 18:05.
Pandolfo's goal began with a rush from Martin, who crossed the Atlanta blue line and threw a shot on net from the left circle. Pandolfo followed up the rebound for his first of the season.
Martin finished with three assists, and was one of five Devils (Elias 2g-1a, Madden 1g-1a, Parise 2a, Zajac 1g-2a) to record a multi-point game. Parise's two assists gave him 100 points for his career.
Zajac's first of the season developed after Elias put a centering feed the crease that pinballed through the slot. The Winnipeg native's got to the puck and released a backhander found the back of the net for his first goal of the season and a 4-4 tie.
Brylin temporarily put the Devils ahead when his slap shot was gloved down by Lehtonen, and slid loose from Lehtonen's pads long enough for Brylin to tap it home with a follow-up shot for a 5-4 Devils lead.
Four road games now remain for Brent Sutter's group, which plays its home opener at Prudential Center on Oct. 27 against Ottawa.
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