2020 is almost here, and the New Jersey Devils are hoping their bad seasons end with a new decade. A new decade could show signs of a team changing, and the New Jersey Devils could be one of them. First, they must fix their issues starting with a new head coach. Then they must show us that they can play better to keep up with other teams. With only five days left, let’s look at the top 10 best wins for the New Jersey Devils in this decade. See how Travis Zajac become a big playoff hero at home against the Panthers at home in an elimination game.
How did the Devils get to be behind Florida in this series?
The series started with a 3-2 victory for the Devils. However, Florida won the next two games, putting them up 2-1. But back at home, the Devils won game 4 to tie the series. However the Devils were then pushed around by the Panthers in game 5 with a shutout of 3-0. That put the Panthers up 3-2 in the series with a chance to win the series in Jersey. How could the Devils respond at home after that horrible Game 5 effort?
How the Devils proved they didn’t want to go home in this game:
In the 1st period, both Scott Clemmensen and Martin Brodeur had to stop chances from both teams. With under 3 minutes to go, a Steve Bernier shot went through Clemmensen to put the Devils up 1-0. In the 2nd period, a penalty to Tomas Kopecky for a high stick gave a huge chance for the Devils to go up two. Under 4 seconds left on that PP the Devils, took a 2 goal lead. With passes from Travis Zajac and Petr Sykora, Ilya Kovalchuk buries it home past Clemmensen. The Devils nearly took a 3-0 lead when a David Clarkson shot went high off of Clemmensen’s body. Although Clemmensen was able to get the puck before the Devils had a chance to jump on it.
How did Florida respond to the Devils pressuring them?
The Panthers learned that if the Devils kept pressuring them, they would not win this game. They needed to respond and this would be once again a game, where the Devils let their opponents come back in the game. Florida finally got on the board with a Kris Versteeg goal to make the score 2-1. Later a Tyson Strachan shot that was saved by Brodeur, was buried home by Sean Bergenheim on the rebound to tie the game at two. Unfortunately for both teams the game would remain tied at two for the rest of the second and third periods. Through the third period, the Devils did look like they had chances to take the lead. With this being said, Clemmensen knew how important this game was, and kept them from doing it. The third period was over, meaning overtime is the deciding fate for the Devils going home or the Panthers moving on.
Who won the big overtime game and how important was Travis Zajac’s goal?
In overtime while nothing really happened until 6 minutes in, Florida had a chance to win it on a couple of attempts. Then when a Zach Parise shot went off the board, the Devils had the overtime goal ready for them. Ilya Kovalchuk then took the puck from the Parise’s shot, then gave it to the hero of the game. He passed it to Travis Zajac who shot the puck and beat Clemmenson five- hole to win Game 6. The Devils had won game 6 and had survived a brutal test from the Florida Panthers to force Game 7 back in Sunrise. But there was one moment that can be considered one of the best moments of the decade. That moment comes in Game 7, but we will cover that game much later. For now, the Devils fans celebrated, knowing they wouldn’t be going home that night.
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