Devils 2, Blue Jackets 1
Weekes finished with 26 saves for his second straight win on the road trip.
John Madden broke a 1-1 tie with 8:41 remaining in regulation and Kevin Weekes made 26 saves for his second straight win as the Devils dropped the Blue Jackets 2-1 Friday in Columbus.
knotted the game at 1 midway through the third period, and Madden's first goal in seven games put the Devils ahead.
Zajac used a Devils power play to notch his 13th of the season. Columbus forward R.J. Umberger misplayed a clearing attempt into the slot, and Zajac snapped it through the pads of rookie netminder Steve Mason at 10:06 of the third.
Madden made it 2-1 Devils just 1:13 later. Mason blocked the left post to stop David Clarkson
's wraparound, which squirted across the crease to Madden for the tap-in at 11:19.
Blue Jackets defenseman Marc Methot knocked the left post off its mooring while trying to check Clarkson just as Madden's shot crossed the line. It was called a goal on the ice by referee Don Koharski, and after a video review, Madden's fifth of the season was allowed to stand.
Weekes picked up his fourth win of the year by beating one of the league's hottest goaltenders. Mason entered Friday's action with wins in seven of his last nine starts and a league-best six shutouts.
But Weekes, making his second start of the road trip, held an opponent to one goal for the second straight outing. He registered 34 saves in Saturday's 5-1 win at Los Angeles and has stopped 60 of 62 shots he has faced on the trip.
Weekes (4-4-0) has come on strong after seeing action in two of 21 games from Nov. 23 to Jan. 8 by posting back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
Devils' special teams continued to produce in Columbus by going a perfect 1-for-1 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. They have yet to allow a power-play goal on the road trip (14-for-14), and have scored on nearly half of their man-advantage opportunities (5-for-11).
The Devils (26-15-3) improved to 3-1 on their six-game road trip, which continues Saturday night at Long Island and concludes Monday at Nashville. New Jersey remained two points out of second place in the Atlantic Division after Philadelphia beat Florida in a shootout Friday. The division-leading Rangers topped Chicago in overtime.
Columbus entered Friday's game riding a three-game win streak. Mason, who brought a 1.80 goals-against average and .936 save percentage into the matchup, has been a large part of that success.
The Jackets' third pick, 69th overall in 2006, Mason posted three straight shutouts last month by blanking Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Anaheim. Until Zajac's tally, the Devils looked as though they might become Mason's latest victims.
After a scoreless first, Weekes had two big stops in the middle frame. He denied Raffi Torres' one-timer from the slot at 7:29, then foiled Jason Williams' blast from the high slot at 9:07.
Manny Malhotra put the Jackets on top with his fifth of the season. His wrister found daylight through Weekes' pads from the bottom of the left circle at 12:46 of the second.
The Devils killed off three straight Jackets power plays, then converted on their first chance of the night when Zajac scored to erase the 1-0 deficit with 9:54 left.
Derek Dorsett was called for tripping at 10:00, and six seconds later the game was tied thanks to Umberger's turnover deep in Columbus territory.
The Devils improved to 5-2-2 all-time against Columbus, and became just the second Eastern club to beat the Jackets in regulation this season (7-2-1)... Clarkson's assist on Madden's tie-breaker extended his points streak to three games (1g-2a)... Forward Brendan Shanahan, who officially signed with the Devils on Thursday, joined the team in Columbus, but did not play.
Fewest team games by Devils players to reach:
25 goals in a season
1988-89 34 games John MacLean
1990-91 36 games John MacLean
1991-92 40 games Claude Lemieux
1987-88 43 games Pat Verbeek
2008-09 43 games Zach Parise
50 points in a season
1988-89 42 games John MacLean
1989-90 42 games Kirk Muller
2008-09 43 games Patrik Elias
2008-09 43 games Zach Parise
1987-88 45 games Kirk Muller
1989-90 45 games Patrik Sundstrom
1991-92 45 games Peter Stastny
|Three star selections