Moore’s OT goal lifts Devils past Wild
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- For the New Jersey Devils, Monday proved that it’s never too late for a happy ending, for a game and for a road trip.
Two fortunate bounces and John Moore’s goal in the first minute of overtime helped the New Jersey Devils snap a two-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Moore got his third goal of the season -- and his second overtime goal -- 52 seconds into OT off a pass from Adam Henrique as Minnesota’s late rally went for naught.
“It was huge. You put that in, with the way this trip has gone, we needed two points tonight and that was stressed from this morning,” Moore said. “It was a great job by our team to kind of regroup and get those two points.”
Henrique and Steven Santini scored goals that went into the net off a Minnesota player, and Cory Schneider chipped in with 33 saves for the Devils, who had dropped games in Toronto and Winnipeg before bouncing back.
“They probably had the majority of the territory early in the game,” Devils coach John Hynes said, “but one of the big things for us is you want to be able to funnel pucks to the net. One of the things we’ve talked to our players about is getting better at getting to the net-front. That’s what happens when you funnel pucks in there and get traffic, sometimes you get bounces like that.”
Will Butcher added a goal for the Devils (12-5-3) in the third period -- the second goal of his career and the second in as many games for the rookie defenseman.
Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund scored twice in the final 10 minutes to force overtime after New Jersey built a 3-1 lead. Nino Niederreiter also scored and Devan Dubnyk had 21 saves for the Wild (9-8-3).
Minnesota outshot New Jersey 12-3 in the opening period but emerged trailing 1-0.
Henrique got a shot to the Minnesota goal mouth that caused Dubnyk to stumble, leaving the puck loose in the crease. As Wild defenseman Gustav Olofsson tried to swat the puck away, he inadvertently nudged it over the goal line. It was the first goal of the month credited to Henrique.
“I was really concerned after the first period. They only get three shots and they’re leading 1-0 after one,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “You’re always concerned because you know their coach is saying they have to play better.”
The Wild got a power play early in the second and tied the score when Schneider failed to cover a close-range shot by Niederreiter and saw the puck slip over the line. It was the fourth consecutive game with a goal for Niederreiter.
New Jersey went up 2-1 on another puck that went off Olofsson and into the net. This time, Santini sent a puck to the net from the side boards. The puck hit Olofsson, who was crashing to the net, and deflected past Dubnyk, giving Santini his first goal of the season and just the third of his career.
“It was frustrating. You can try to blame it on puck luck or whatever, bad bounces, but I think I’ve got to be better from the start,” Olofsson said. “It was one of those games I felt like it was frustrating, but I just tried to shake it off and keep playing because we had to battle back and we needed everybody on the bench.”
Butcher scored on a rising wrist shot over Dubnyk’s shoulder with 12:41 to play to give New Jersey a two-goal lead, but Granlund answered with a Wild power play goal later in the third and tied the score with a slap shot after Dubnyk headed to the bench for an extra attacker.
NOTES: Wild RW Charlie Coyle was back in the lineup for the first time since Oct. 12 when he sustained a broken leg in Chicago during Minnesota’s first win of the season. He skated on the team’s fourth line with C Matt Cullen and LW Tyler Ennis. Coyle was activated from long term injured reserve on Monday. ... Northern Michigan University rookie head coach Grant Potulny was in attendance with his team at Monday’s game. Potulny, when he played for the University of Minnesota, scored the overtime goal that won the Gophers’ 2002 national championship at Xcel Energy Center. ... Devils RW Stefan Noesen, who had just one assist in New Jersey’s previous seven games, was a healthy scratch.