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Atlanta at New Jersey

Devils rally from two goals down to beat Thrashers

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

NEWARK, N.J. -- Not only are the New Jersey Devils winning almost every game, they starting to get the breaks, too.

Take a look at their 4-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday. New Jersey had two major pieces of good fortune in winning for the 23rd time in 28 games (23-3-2) and moving above the .500 mark (33-32-4) for the first time this season.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
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A goal that got them back into the game late in the first period went in off the skate of an Atlanta defenseman and then an apparent tying goal by the Thrashers late in the third was waved off by the officials for a high stick.

"It's pretty amazing what we've accomplished," said Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who preserved the win with two great saves in the final minute. "We've got ourselves in a fun situation that every game counts now. Thirty, 40 games ago, it was how are we going to play the second half? Are we just going to kill time to finish the season? We definitely are a long way from where we want to be, but it's fun."

Coupled with eighth-place Buffalo's 1-0 loss to Carolina, the Devils are now in 10th place, six points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand and 13 games to go.

On Jan. 8, they were the worst team in the conference, 27 points out of playoff spot.

"It's pretty unbelievable how we're winning these games," center Travis Zajac said. "At the same time, this is what was expected of us, to compete at a high level. Right now we're coming out ahead and that's the way it has to be for the rest of the season if we still want to make the playoffs."

The Devils didn't start the game looking as if they wanted to be in the playoffs.

Atlanta's Tim Stapleton and Chris Thorburn scored in a 65-second span in the first period for a 2-0 lead, and for a couple of minutes it looked like New Jersey was headed for a suddenly rare loss.

That's when luck entered the picture.

Zajac deflected a shot by defenseman Mark Fayne with just over a minute left in the period and it went past Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec after hitting off the skate of defenseman Ron Hainsey.

It woke the Devils up. Patrik Elias tied the game early in the second period on an odd-man rush and Jacob Josefson got the game winner early in the third period after being set up by fellow Swedish rookie Mattias Tedenby.

Brodeur finished with 18 saves and preserved the lead stopping a break-in by Blake Wheeler and a shot in close by Bryan Little in the final minute.

The Devils also got the benefit of having an apparent tying goal by Evander Kane waved off with 37.4 seconds remaining because of a high stick.

Kane, who set up Stapleton's goal with a great no-look pass, felt the goal was good.

"I looked at it on the replay and the way I felt I made contact I felt it was in the accepted area," he said. "They made the call and it is what it is."

Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay was disappointed in the call.

"It was so close," he said. "You can't wave that off at this time of the year. When you look at it from some of those views, it was so damn close. I don't know you can be that emphatic about the call and now the league doesn't want to overrule you."

Brodeur was not even sure, noting he was looking at the puck.

"I really didn't pay attention to how high the shot was," Brodeur said. "They called it right away. That's a good sign. I know it was definitely miss the net high. There was no doubt about that. But where he touched it, over or below that line, we'll take the call."

Kovalchuk iced the game with an empty-net goal with 16.6 seconds to play.

Josefson's game winner was his second NHL goal and his second in two games. Tedenby chased down a pass by Devils defenseman Colin White near the Thrashers' goal line. After bumping with a Thrashers' defenseman, he found Josefson above the left circle and Josefson wristed a shot past Pavelec.

Notes

  • Radek Dvorak got an assist on Thorburn's goal, his first point in seven games as a Thrasher.
  • Thorburn wore a face guard to protect his lip, which was cut Saturday against Philadelphia.
  • Atlanta recalled D Noah Welch from Chicago (AHL).
  • The Devils won the season series 3-1.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jacob Josefson enjoys the go-ahead goal, his second tally in the NHL and second in two games. (AP)
Jacob Josefson enjoys the go-ahead goal, his second tally in the NHL and second in two games. (AP)

Scoreboard
Atlanta (29-29-12)2002
New Jersey  (33-32-4) «1124
Three Stars
J. Josefson
NJ


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
P. Elias
NJ


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
T. Zajac
NJ


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
15:24 - Tim Stapleton (3), Slap Shot. Assist: Kane, Stewart
16:29 - Chris Thorburn (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Dvorak, Burmistrov
18:52 - Travis Zajac (13), Slap Shot. Assist: Fayne, Tallinder
2ND PERIOD
05:10 - Patrik Elias (16), Slap Shot. Assist: Rolston
3RD PERIOD
04:14 - Jacob Josefson (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Tedenby, White
19:43 - Ilya Kovalchuk (26), Empty Net. Assist: Zubrus
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:13Tallinder, 2 min, Tripping
2ND PERIOD
12:19Little, 2 min, Tripping
14:55Enstrom, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
ATL92920
NJ99624
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Ondrej Pavelec59:01203
Martin Brodeur60:00182
Game Information
Attendance - 16188
Referees - Greg Kimmerly, Wes McCauley
Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, Jean Morin
 
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